CSU Monterey Bay takes next step in campus expansion – Monterey Herald

SEASIDE — Reimagination is a core tenet of CSU Monterey Bay.

When the college emerged out of Fort Ord’s shadow in 1995, CSUMB developed a scheme to transfigure the then 77-year-old military base into a university. That goal has expanded in the years that followed, with plans to both widen and centralize the campus community over the next decade and more already outlined for the public’s approval.

Earlier this month, CSUMB released a draft environmental impact report reviewing these lofty ambitions as part of a new master plan of expansion and change proposed nearly five years ago. The report — necessary for realizing renovations and additions before they can really begin — marks progress in the university’s latest push to improve.

CSUMB has shaped decision-making under an overarching master plan for much of its lifespan, the second and most recently finalized dating back to 2007. Then, aspirations centered around building out open space, fostering a welcoming environment, and enhancing sustainable practices. Growth through the subsequent decade prompted another round of reassessment in 2017, a process of pinpointing priorities that is still ongoing to date.

More so an extension of previous work than a different document altogether, the university’s impending master plan still champions hallmark CSUMB values like establishing a sense of community on campus and practicing sustainability, while also anticipating bigger changes related to enrollment, housing and campus amenities.

CSUMB projects its campus population to grow from recent levels of about 6,800 full-time-enrollment students (FTES) and 750 full-time enrollment staff to 12,700 students and more than 1,775 staff by 2035. Prior capacity laid out in the 2007 master plan sought to accommodate 8,500 full-time students on campus.

Per new predictions — based on growing state population and a higher need among employers for educated employees — CSUMB’s proposed master plan suggests adding a total of 2.6 million gross square feet in new facilities and housing to accommodate the eventual population jump.

In living spaces alone, that’s an expansion of 3,820 student beds and 757 residential units for faculty and staff.

“The idea is to pair enrollment growth/academic building construction with housing constructions so we can house 60% of students and 65% of staff and faculty (on campus),” said Anya Spear, CSUMB director of strategic initiatives.

As for other developments, CSUMB is looking to create a more cohesive campus by concentrating facilities in one central “heart,” according to a draft of its master plan. That will incorporate a 70,000 gross square foot recreation center, as well as a densified group of academic, administrative, housing and service buildings.

To further encourage activity at the center of student life, the university also intends to strengthen bicycle and pedestrian travel. In practice, heightened options for eco-friendly transportation will include separated trails and campus incorporation of the Fort Ord Regional Trail and Greenway, a 24-mile biking and walking trail with an open space buffer running in two giant loops from Del Rey Oaks to Marina.

“Placing buildings closer together, separating people from vehicles and increasing enrollment is intended to provide more opportunities for human interaction, connection and learning,” Spear explained.

CSUMB hopes to have the draft environmental impact report surveying its master plan approved by the CSU board of trustees in May. The draft will be available for public comment until March 21 and can be reviewed at csumb.edu/facilities/planning. Written comments may be sent to aspear@csumb.edu.

“We took the time to engage many people, agencies, organizations and jurisdictions in creating the plan,” Spear added. “Our intent has been to be open and inclusive in the planning process, and we think we’ve created a good plan.”

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