NSU crafts diverse master plan
BY ZACK STOYCOFF World Staff Writer
Monday, October 22, 2012
10/22/12 at 7:49 AM
TAHLEQUAH - Northeastern State University is crafting a master plan that would take its three campuses in widely different directions over the next 30 years, administrators said.
The plan represents the university's first effort to identify the long-term goals of the Tahlequah, Broken Arrow and Muskogee campuses, Vice President of Operations Tim Foutch said.
"This is an extremely comprehensive look at our institution and it's really the first time we've taken this kind of look," he said. "We can no longer afford to look months or one year in advance, like we could have done 10 years ago."
Brainstorming sessions this month between university administrators, city leaders, students and residents of the three cities revealed different goals for each campus, he said.
The university's main campus in Tahlequah largely needs infrastructure and new housing to accommodate steady growth, he said.
Broken Arrow's campus seeks specialized programs and facilities to hasten growth, and the Muskogee campus looks to continue its transition to a medical-focused school, he said.
Three consulting and architectural firms - SmithGroupJJR of Ann Arbor, Mich., Paulien & Associates of Denver, and Tulsa-based Dewberry Architects - are reviewing the ideas from the brainstorm sessions and will likely take them to administrators in January, Foutch said.
Additional public workshops in 2013 would help outline spending priorities, program changes, capital projects and other goals for the next 30 years, he said.
Administrators hope to decide by the end of 2013 whether to adopt a plan based on those decisions, he said.
The idea for the plan surfaced about two years ago. The brainstorming sessions were the first step.
"We talked to everyone about what it is we do well, what we don't do well, what we want to do and what we don't want to do," Foutch said. "The next step is the consultants will take the information and start putting together what they believe they've heard and look at outcomes of (potential) actions."
At the brainstorming session in Tahlequah, ideas centered on improving the 100-year-old campus' aging infrastructure. New programs and potential capital projects were also discussed, he said.
"In Muskogee, the approach was very different because we've already identified it to be our allied health home," he said.
Allied health professions are those that complement core medical professions such as dentistry and nursing. They include physical, occupational and speech therapy.
The university is already establishing such programs there, he said.
"In Broken Arrow, the continued debate is over how we maximize those outstanding facilities and make sure we're really reaching into the Tulsa market as well as we should be," he said.
New classroom buildings could be on the table for Broken Arrow, but the university must first decide what programs it would like to add, he said.
Zack Stoycoff 918-581-8486