Written by Tiane Davis // Graphic by Makayla McDonald
The nationally acclaimed Credo Design Architects team was on campus last month to evaluate University facilities and property. A steering committee of 10 people from various areas on campus will facilitate meetings on campus and offer suggestions in regard to the evaluation.
University President Mike Williams announced in an email to all employees Aug. 23 that Harding would be creating a campus master plan, hiring Credo to lead the project.
Architecture program director Mike Steelman, who is part of the steering committee, said the master plan will be like “a roadmap for the University,” and that it will allow the University to make intelligent decisions in the future about its physical facilities. He said a crucial part of the process is involving everyone at Harding.
“There will be opportunities for every single person on campus to participate and to share their input,” Steelman said. “It’s critical that students be involved. When it comes time to have the opportunity for input, I strongly encourage students to participate in that because too often, decisions are made by faculty and administration. Students have a different perspective about things, so having input from students is absolutely critical to being successful.”
Steelman said Credo will help the University by viewing the campus with “fresh eyes.”
“They’ll see things that a lot of us who’ve been around the Harding campus for a long time don’t think about,” he said.
Harding business intelligence architect Ashlie Galyan, who is serving as one of two co-chairs for the project leadership team, said the goal in creating a master plan is to make the campus work better for students and visitors. As far as she knows, Galyan said, Harding has never had a master plan made, so the work needed to gather data for it is extensive.
“The aim is making the campus more welcoming, making things more easy to find for visitors or potential students, and increasing the enjoyment of the students so they’re okay,” Galyan said. “They’re looking at how students go through their day and where they’re going and what paths they’re following.”
Galyan said Credo and the steering committee have considered factors such as whether students have enough common areas and if the signage on campus is sufficient for visitors. She also said the safety of students has always been a concern and focus for Harding.
“I would love to hear the feedback from the students,” Galyan said. “Nobody is going to be happy all the time or happy with everything, but even feedback of just how they go about their day is extremely informative to us.”
Amy Cox, associate dean of the college of arts and sciences, is serving as the other co-chair for the steering committee.
“This master plan should provide the administration with a tool they can use to enrich the students’ experience for years to come,” Cox said.
Student Government Association president Ella Duryea, who is part of the steering committee, said she was encouraged by how interested the University was in hearing her perspective.
“It’s so important to involve students because the results of whatever comes of this project belong to them at the end of the day,” Duryea said. “It feels like student interest and opinion is at the forefront of this project. The students are the ones who interact with all areas of campus every day and get to see how our spaces could be better.”