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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Master plan recap: A year of envisioning change

Photo by Emma Sylvester for The Lafayette
The master plan will be finalized at the end of 2023.

As the semester comes to a close, Lafayette has made significant progress in preparation for the reveal of the campus master plan. This will be the first master plan in over a decade and has been spearheaded by the administration of President Nicole Hurd. 

SmithGroup, the architectural firm behind the master plan, initiated the planning process by sending out MapMyLafayette surveys last fall to the campus community. In March, a summary of findings was sent out, revealing commonalities from the survey. More than 1,000 members of the Lafayette community, including Easton residents, filled out the survey. 

In addition to the online survey, in-person master planning sessions have been hosted by Hurd. More than 700 people attended these events, including numerous students. Planning session attendees broke off into groups and were asked to answer three questions regarding the top priorities for the college over the next decade, as well as identify the qualities that will characterize Lafayette’s future. 

“I actually was able to go and present the things we had talked about, which was cool,” attendee Chris Allen ‘26 said. “I got to kind of talk to [Hurd] directly.”

For students that haven’t gone to master plan planning sessions, emails from the administration have encouraged students to get involved. An April 17 campus-wide email sent by Hurd solidified some of the talking points from planning sessions.

“I think my favorite part of this process has been seeing the universal love of the college. Even when people were being critical, I think that the criticism came out of a place of love and care for Lafayette, and wanting to see it be better. That was a uniform observation, everyone who came out is really excited about the college’s future,” Nicole Eramo, the President’s office Chief of Staff, said. Eramo has worked with the administration to intertwine the master plan with her role in managing the long-term strategic plan

While the administration has worked with SmithGroup over the past academic year, student input has been essential to the master plan. 

“Coming in as a first year, I didn’t know that colleges went through these cycles of planning,” Remy Oktay ’24 said. “So when this project came up and was announced to the community, I was really excited that we’d be able to brainstorm and share these new ideas for where we want to see Lafayette go and become.”

Oktay has worked closely alongside Hurd and fellow administrators to express his thoughts from a student perspective.

“I’ve gone to three or four of the master planning meetings, and I’ve had lots of conversations with friends and faculty about what might be included,” Oktay said. 

Students also called for higher quality dining halls, residence halls and minor architectural upgrades that will maintain Lafayette’s campus as an aesthetically beautiful campus from the outside, but a more modern atmosphere on the inside. 

“With more people coming [to Lafayette] in the summer to work, I definitely think adding AC to all the dorms should be a top priority, or at least making sure they have enough portable units for everyone,” Allen said.

Survey responses also focused on particular areas of campus, such as Metzgar, an 80-acre property two miles north of campus, which has recently stalled in its progress.

“Connecting Metzgar and College Hill, I think, is really exciting. There’s talk of how we might be able to physically connect them with a path so that we could bike or walk to get more people out,” Oktay said.

Students have also proposed higher-quality turf fields at Metzgar to facilitate club sport growth. The survey results also revealed common suggestions for building a new lacrosse stadium, instead of relying on Fisher Field for D1 lacrosse games.

Many student and administrator points further called for creating new ways to combat climate change, hoping that they can help Lafayette reach its carbon neutrality goal. 

“During these critical years when we’re experiencing climate change to an increasing degree, it’s great to get excited about the future and envision the future when the present looks ever more grim,” Oktay said. “When the present looks so doom and gloom, it’s great to spend the time and energy thinking about booming and blooming.” 

Going into the summer, SmithGroup will move the three-stage process into the realization stage, the final stage of the master plan proposal. A preliminary campus plan review will take place in September, and the final campus master plan will be revealed to the campus community at the end of 2023.

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About the Contributors
Andreas Pelekis, News Editor
Emma Sylvester, Photo Editor

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