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Drury University unveils new campus master plan

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Drury University yesterday afternoon unveiled a new campus master plan after months of work with New York City-based architecture and design firm Cooper Robertson & Partners LLP.

Drury Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Information Officer David Hinson told Springfield Business Journal the 25- to 30-year plan will be split into phases, with the first beginning in early 2018.

“We don’t have a cost on it. We wanted to dream big first,” Hinson said, adding the projects will be funded solely through donations. “We’re testing the capacity of our donor base to contribute to this Phase I project, and that will really dictate the scope as we build each phase, so there’s just not a price tag on it.”

Phase I includes changes to the school’s streets and landscaping, as well as the addition of a new student life center and a Design Enterprise Solution Center that would eventually house the university’s Breech School of Business.

The master plan also includes clearly defined campus edges to create psychological thresholds and entrances, establishing a residential precinct to the north end of campus and an innovation precinct to the south, and changing Drury Lane by closing it to traffic and transforming it into a pedestrian mall, Hinson said.

Drury soon will begin the process of hiring a construction team.

“We’ll have an open process, a bidding process, where we’ll invite firms from Springfield and across the country to come,” Hinson said. “We have many qualified graduates from the Hammons School of Architecture, so we would love to have their participation on these projects.”

Drury hired Cooper Robertson & Partners in April, and last month, its report was reviewed by the university’s board of trustees.

“If you understand anything about academia, that is indeed warp speed to act in that period of time,” Hinson said during a campus event in Bay Hall, where the plans were revealed. “They not only met expectations, but they exceeded them.”

Cooper Robertson consultants told Drury officials an additional 700,000 square feet could be added to the campus, Hinson said.

“We currently have 1.2 million square feet under roof,” he said. “We have a significant amount of growth potential we can have here on this campus without having to extend the footprint. We want to make due with what we have.”

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