The Need for a Campus Master Plan
In 2016, BU embarked on a process to develop a Campus Master Plan that sets a direction for its future growth and development over the coming decades. Looking ahead, the Campus Master Plan will be a guide to: the placement and character of new buildings, building renovations, and expansions; the use, location, and character of open spaces; and, the hierarchy, character, and role of streets and paths in recognition of the academic and community engagement direction of the University. BU has locations in Brandon and Winnipeg, which form the basis for this report.
BU retained DIALOG to lead the consultant team, providing master planning, design and public engagement expertise. DIALOG worked with Resource Planning Group Inc. (RPG), who provided space planning analysis and expertise.
Brandon University’s Strategic Objectives
Brandon University outlined a series of overarching strategic objectives for the University as it shifts into a new cycle of planning for the campus through the launch of a 20-30 year Campus Master Plan. They have influenced the Vision achieved for the Plan, and through a highly integrated engagement process, guided the development of Policy Frameworks to enable the Plan’s implementation over time. These objectives include:
- Creating a campus that meets community needs and strengthens neighbourhood relationships.
- Creating quality learning, teaching, research, and studying environments for all campuses that meet new and evolving needs.
- Creating an opportunity to build relationships with students, faculty, staff, the Indigenous community, the surrounding community, and the city.
- Increasing opportunities for continuing education and providing the necessary amenities.
- Aligning with the City’s future development opportunities and initiatives.
- Creating partnership opportunities with institutions, businesses, industry, and government to realize opportunities for joint academic programs, collaborative research, and shared infrastructure and operating costs.
- Positioning Brandon University as a vital institution within Brandon, Winnipeg, and Manitoba, and as a catalyst for community and economic development within the south-western Manitoba region.
Campus Master Plan Objectives
The following are key objectives specific that guided the Plan and: are in keeping with the University’s Strategic Objectives; respond to changing needs and trends; advance Indigenous Community representation; align opportunities of each land holding to benefit the University and broader community; and position the University as a unique district within Brandon and a significant destination within Manitoba. The Plan will:
- Serve the University’s Mission Statement and Academic Plan.
- Serve as a flexible framework for future decisions regarding the long-range physical development of the Campus.
- Strive to maximize the appropriate and efficient use of built and green space, to provide new opportunities, and to manage circulation and movement on the campus in a way that prioritizes the pedestrian.
- Engage and serve the diverse academic and social needs and interests of the University community.
- Provide opportunities to enhance relationships with Indigenous peoples and cultivate culturally supportive facilities and services in future developments.
- Provide flexibility to respond to changing needs, trends, and future opportunities.
- Accommodate expanded enrolment.
- Address the role of the University in City growth and development.
- Address specific key issues facing the University related to physical development.
Responding to changes in Post Secondary Education
The world of post secondary education is changing. There are several trends that are changing the design of universities and affecting decisions around the design of classroom and social spaces, the approach to teaching and learning, and the quality and diversity of services and amenities. The following are trends that are important to the growth, development and identity of Brandon University.
- Creating a stronger community presence, collaboration and integration at various scales — campus, neighbourhood, city, and region.
- Creating an attractive and welcoming place — to attract domestic and international students, Indigenous students, and to draw the community in.
- Creating a mixed-use environment with services and amenities that respond to a growing immigrant and seniors population.
- Creating a more socially engaging environment and fostering interaction, diversity, and inclusiveness.
- Addressing health and wellness by supporting learning, active living, healthy eating, and recreation options.
- Addressing sustainability, resilience, and pedagogy in design.
Aligning Recent Campus Growth Initiatives
In recent years, the University has undertaken a series of notable initiatives, some of which include this Campus Master Plan. Others have unfolded during the process of this Plan. The initiatives are driven by the need to expand and diversify student housing; to provide affordable housing for students and seniors; to create a flexible Plan that takes a comprehensive and sustainable approach to developing buildings, open spaces, and movement networks to meet the University’s strategic objectives.
The initiatives include the following:
- The acquisition of a portion of the Fleming School site to develop student family housing in close proximity to the Campus.
- The development of a Campus Master Plan.
- The acquisition of consolidated properties in Brandon’s downtown core, to expand the University’s footprint in an area that will foster new academic, social, cultural, and community engagement opportunities, and help catalyze downtown revitalization.
The Indigenous community and Brandon University
BU seeks to position itself as a “home” — a welcoming and safe destination for Indigenous peoples. The Vision for the University is to create a place where the history, diversity, culture, language, and ceremony of Indigenous peoples is an integral part of the physical, social, educational, recreational, and operational environment on the Campus. The Plan is an opportunity to celebrate Indigenous peoples’ cultures, enhance understanding of their culture, hear their stories, and support their needs.
The following are relevant objectives, in this respect:
- Creating a welcoming and inclusive physical, social, cultural, academic, and safe environment for Indigenous peoples.
- Building a strong relationships through continued conversation and engagement, that starts by listening.
- Creating opportunities for Indigenous placemaking on campus, a forum in which the community can tell the past, present, and future story of Indigenous peoples, and be heard and respected.
- Creating opportunities to align initiatives with other institutions and organizations to address the needs of Indigenous peoples.