Envision 2035 proposals reviewed at forum

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CSUN faculty and staff gathered in the presentation room of the Oviatt Library to review the “Envision 2035” draft master plan on Tuesday.

According to Richard Thompson, representative for AC Martin Partners, the company hired to create the Envision 2035 proposal, the CSU system’s population in 2002 was approximately 318,000.

It is projected that by the year 2012, there will be 420,000 students.

CSUN’s student population is expected to grow accordingly.

University officials and Northridge community members have worked together for over a year to envision a campus that meets the changing needs of the community, said Thompson. Envision 2035 intends to take part in this growth by providing future generations with adequate academic opportunities, housing, parking services, and a sense of campus community, said Thompson.

The plan proposes to enhance the campus identity by creating landscaped campus entrances and exits. It proposes providing a “view window” from Nordhoff Street at the Performing Arts Center, and a revitalization of the orange grove to make it safer for pedestrians who use it as a corridor, by cleaning up walkways and adding lighting, Thompson said.

The “view window” will provide those driving on Nordhoff Street to look in at the university. It will be a palm tree lined corridor that will be located directly in front of the Oviatt Library steps.

Under the proposal, academic buildings will be expanded farther to the east of the campus. Currently, there are 15 proposed buildings that will be built in the 1,150,000 square feet available, Thompson said.

A proposed idea for the plan is the possibility of additional on-campus student housing, and faculty and staff housing. Four new housing buildings that would offer a total of 3,200 new units close to the academic community have also been proposed.

According to Thompson, faculty housing is beneficial for faculty that come from other states.

“Young teachers sell their houses for $60,000 in Indiana, think(ing) they are getting a pretty good deal,” said Thompson. “We can recruit these teachers and offer them housing.”

The plan also offers solutions to the persisting traffic and parking problems by creating more parking structures. Under Envision 2035, there are four proposed student and faculty parking structures that will provide between 3,500 and 4,500 new parking spaces.

The plan also calls for the implementation of new city bus routes, shuttles to MetroLink, and an MTA Rapid Bus Stop on Nordhoff Street, Thompson said.

The last part of the plan proposes to expand student services and dinning facilities on campus. According to Thompson, there are two proposed dinning facilities and one student recreation facility that will incorporate the Health Center.

Some ideas for Envision 2035 were gathered from 30 CSUN students who participated in a photo shoot. These students were assigned to take photographs of their favorite and least favorite places on campus.

“The concept and suggestions came from students,” said Thompson. “Their least favorite places were the baseball field, Lot G3, the bungalows, and the University Village.”

Chris Garry, senior urban studies major, said this project seems to only benefit students and not the community.

“It’s all right, but it’s more like it benefits the students and doesn’t benefit the community,” said Garry. “With 10,000 more students, there is going to be more traffic and more accidents.”

Brad and Gloria Bradford, who have lived on Zelzah Avenue for 28 years, said the new parking plans will create more traffic on Zelzah. The Bradford’s said they will be affected if new parking structures go up because she lives directly across the street from the soccer field, which is the site where a parking structure is proposed.

“Traffic is horrible,” said Gloria Bradford. “We don’t want a parking structure on our street.”

But even so, the Bradfords said they believe CSUN students and faculty will benefit from Envision 2035 if it is implemented.

“We should never interfere with the education of young people,” said Brad Bradford. “We don’t care what the campus builds, as long as it’s beneficial to the students.”

According to John Chandler, campus spokesperson, this project will be in progress for 35 years and cost estimates are not yet available.

A fourth and final forum is scheduled to take place March 19, where the final master plan will be reviewed. After the final plan is reviewed, it will be submitted, along with an Environmental Impact Report to the California State University Board of Trustees for approval.