Progress

VCU, GRTC reach multiyear agreement to provide transit access to VCU and VCU Health System students, employees

June 5, 2019

3 students about to board a GRTC bus out front of Gladding Residence Center

Virginia Commonwealth University signed a three-year paid agreement with the GRTC Transit System on Tuesday to fund unlimited transportation access on Pulse Bus Rapid Transit, local and express routes for all VCU, VCU Health System and Virginia Premier students and employees effective Aug. 1. In a recent VCU survey, 95.4% of students and employees expressed support for a continuation of the existing transportation agreement VCU and GRTC have been piloting since August 2018.

State approves funding to build new $121M STEM education facility

May 6, 2019

A rendering of the future STEM building on the Monroe Park campus

The state budget signed Thursday May 2nd by Gov. Ralph Northam includes funding for Virginia Commonwealth University to construct a $121 million 168,000-square-foot, six-floor building dedicated to science, technology, engineering and math education on the Monroe Park Campus

VCU Board of Visitors approves ONE VCU Master Plan

March 22, 2019

The Virginia Commonwealth University Board of Visitors approved the ONE VCU Master Plan, a document that will guide the physical development of the Monroe Park and MCV campuses. See the full ONE VCU Master Plan report or download the pdf.

Board of Visitors Presentation

January 10, 2019

Design proposal for the Franklin and Shafer intersection, including extended curbs, a circular/brick walkway, and a seatwall/pylon entrance

VCU Vice President for Administration Meredith Weiss presented a draft of the ONE VCU Master Plan to VCU’s Board of Visitors in December. Initial reactions from the Board were positive, with some Board members noting VCU’s powerful campus transformation and the impact of the university’s physical environment on the student and patient experience. See the full BOV presentation. The VCU Board of Visitors meets again in March 2019.

 

 

ONE VCU Master Plan schedule

November 16, 2018

A close up of the One VCU Master Plan schedule showing the Final Solutions and Implementation part of the timeline

VCU continues to receive positive feedback about the ONE VCU Master Plan Draft from the VCU and VCU Health communities alumni and local neighbors. The draft plan, originally scheduled to go before VCU’s Board of Visitors for review in September, will now be presented to the Board in December for review and comment, with the final plan to be considered by the Board for full approval in March 2019. (Read more)

Monroe Park Reopens

October 8, 2018

The central fountain of Monroe Park on a cloudy day shortly after the park was reopened

Monroe Park, one of Richmond’s oldest and most historic parks and public spaces, officially reopened on September 27, 2018 after the first comprehensive renovation since its creation in 1851. Public green spaces like Monroe Park play an important role as an amenity to the university and to the community, especially in an urban setting like Richmond. (Read more)

Draft ONE VCU Master Plan Preview Open Houses

October 2, 2018

Attendees of a recent ONE VCU Master Plan open house gather around a poster board showcasing the Mobility and Safety guiding principle.

This September, more than 250 VCU community members attended recent ONE VCU Master Plan open houses to preview a draft of VCU’s master plan. The draft provides the VCU community with a first look at how VCU’s campus may evolve over the next 12-15 years. The draft is organized around six guiding principles to support new strategic plans for VCU and VCU Health. (Read more)

Partnering with the City of Richmond

August 30, 2018

A beautiful sunset picture of the James River and the downtown skyline of Richmond, Virginia

The 1968 Wayne Commission report, which recommended the formation of Virginia Commonwealth University by merging the Richmond Professional Institute and the Medical College of Virginia, noted that “the urban environment offers the university great resources” but also stated that the “urban university has an obligation to participate in the solution of urban problems.” This partnership between the university, the City and its citizens takes many forms but includes an open line of communication when it comes to the physical planning of both the university and the City. (Read more)

Partnering with GRTC

August 1, 2018

A GRTC blue/green Pulse bus pulls up to a bus stop on a sunny day

Prior to kicking off the master planning process VCU and the VCU Health System embarked on a study (one of many that inform the master plan) to examine parking and transportation for students and employees at both the Monroe Park and MCV Campuses. The goal of the study was to assess and develop sustainable long term strategies to meet the parking needs for the current and projected levels of development within the Monroe Park and MCV Campuses through 2025. Part of the study examined the feasibility of utilizing the existing Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC) routes to reduce parking demand, especially the new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. (Read more)

Mobility and Safety

July 17, 2018

Bicyclists ride happily through downtown Richmond on a dedicated bike lane

Mobility and Safety is one of the six major themes of the ONE VCU Master Plan. While issues related to mobility and safety exist at multiple scales, campus master plans primarily focus on space outside of the building – the public realm. In every phase of the planning process to date we have heard concerns from students, alumni, neighbors, faculty, staff and senior administrators regarding mobility and safety issues on our campuses and in the City. Throughout the Design Phase, the planning team has been exploring solutions to address this theme’s Guiding Principle: Promote a walkable, accessible, safe campus which is easy to navigate for the entire VCU community. (Read more)

Front Doors Preview

July 3, 2018

Design proposal for the Franklin and Shafer intersection, including extended curbs, a circular/brick walkway, and a seatwall/pylon entrance

Back in February we noted that an early, fast-track priority of the ONE VCU master plan that was identifying the “Front Doors” for VCU and producing a vision that would improve the first impression of VCU, strengthen the arrival experience and wayfinding around campus, and enhance VCU’s overall sense of place and identity. (Read more)

 

The Retail Study and ONE VCU

June 13, 2018

A close-up portion of a graph showing what types of retail students and faculty feel are missing from VCU campus

The ONE VCU master plan is driven by data, which comes in many forms: information learned at public meetings and forums, interviews with deans and senior administration and at small group listening sessions with stakeholder groups. In addition to what we learn by talking to our community, much data is derived from the many studies, plans and reports undertaken by the university and the greater community. (Read more)

 

ONE VCU - Revised Themes

May 14, 2018

VCU hospital staff rush a patient down a hallway

Fully embracing the ONE VCU Master Plan process means incorporating EVERYONE who uses the VCU campuses. This includes students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community but we also can’t forget the most vulnerable population – patients and visitors on the MCV campus. Creating the ONE VCU Master Plan means developing a plan that supports both the University and Health System. (Read more)

Design Phase - Introduction

April 24, 2018

A focus group stands outside the Academic Learning Commons to discuss the surrounding area in relation to the Master Plan design phase

The Design Phase is the third phase of the ONE VCU Master Plan process, and is an opportunity to evaluate concepts that explore different site capacities, program adjacencies and locations, open space organization, and campus connectivity strategies. During this phase, the planning team will develop and weigh detailed ideas for campus utilizing the Planning Principles and Concept Framework as a guide. (Read more)

Themes + Issues Phase - Public Engagement Feedback

March 30, 2018

A zoomed in map of the Monroe Park campus highlighting connections to Richmond's mass transit and public spaces

The Planning Team provided a progress report of the ONE VCU Master Plan during three public engagement sessions in late February. The comments received at these and previous public meetings, through the website and on social media are a vital part of the planning process as they help to shape and refine the plan. The Planning Team listened and reviewed these comments with members of the internal VCU governance committees and have already begun to incorporate them into the planning process. (Read more)

Themes + Issues Phase - Public Meeting recap

March 8, 2018

People discussing and analysing a computer monitor at a presentation regarding the Master Plan

On February 27th and 28th the planning team conducted three public engagement sessions to present the current status of the ONE VCU Master Plan. Over 200 people from the VCU and Richmond community attended these presentations to learn about the Master Plan process, see a summary of the engagement and analysis conducted during the Environmental Design Phase, and learn about the emerging themes, guiding principles and concept plan that will serve as a foundation for the Design Phase. After each presentation, there was time for questions and feedback. If you could not attend the sessions, a copy of the presentation is available as well as a live recording. (Read more)

Themes + Issues Phase - Refinement and public presentations

February 16, 2018

Jeff Eastman, University Planner, giving a presentation on ONE VCU, VCU's master plan

The Planning Team spent the last four months engaging a large cross-section of the VCU and Richmond community to develop an Environmental Survey of the campus. The outcomes from this survey will be used during the Themes and Issues Phases, to develop Guiding Principles and a Concept Plan. The Concept Plan will illustrate the structure, layout, and relationships of planned open space, circulation systems, buildings, gateways, and focal points. The Concept Plan will be unified by a shared commitment to developing VCU’s campuses in ways that are ecologically, socially, and economically sustainable. (Read more)

Themes + Issues Phase - Ongoing engagement and fast track priorities

February 1, 2018

VCU staff and faculty looking at pictures of architecture

In December and January, the Planning Team continued to engage stakeholder groups, including alumni and students, and made presentations to the Board of Visitors and Real Estate Foundation. The Planning Team worked with the Master Plan governance committees to review the existing conditions analysis and vet initial themes that summarize the key issues and opportunities for the physical campus. These themes will be further developed during the remainder of the Themes and Issues Phase in order to establish Guiding Principles based on a common vision and approach to the campus structure. (Read more)

Environmental Survey Phase - Initial analysis and stakeholder feedback

November 17, 2017

Key words describing the major strengths of the existing campus: academic, programs, neighborhoods, active, intimate, art, history, medical, diversity, location, center, righ, fabric, Richmond, Franklin, culture, urban, collaboration, eclectic, diverse, architecture, vibrant, street, engagement, library, community, historic, and comprehensive

Between October 30, 2017 and November 2, 2017, the VCU planning team conducted 27 stakeholder meetings and interviews, engaging with 106 individuals. During each stakeholder meeting, the planning team gave a brief introductory presentation about the Master Plan process and schedule then asked the following six questions to frame the conversation:

  • What are the major strengths of the existing campus?
  • What are the major weaknesses of the existing campus?
  • What are the priorities/greatest needs for your unit? (Read More)

Environmental Survey Phase - Introduction

October 30, 2017

A zoomed-in view of a map of Richmond, VA highlighting the different city districts

The first phase of the Master Plan is the Environmental Survey Phase which includes an assessment of the existing conditions as well as engagement with campus stakeholders to determine the opportunities and challenges on campus. During the Environmental Survey Phase, the Planning Team will tour campus, review, coordinate and synthesize recent and on-going studies to inform the analysis and determine what is relevant for the plan, and meet with the Master Plan governance committees, all of the University deans, Strategic Plan leadership, VCU Health System Leadership, and other Stakeholder groups. One of the concepts being tested in the plan is that of ONE VCU – looking at how to address the feeling that the Monroe Park and MCV Campuses are isolated from one another. That concept will be introduced through these stakeholder and public meetings as participants will be asked “What would help meet the goal of ‘ONE VCU’”? (Read more)

Master Plan - Kickoff and Process

October 2, 2017

A zoomed-in view of the Ayers Saint Gross campus master plan graphic

VCU is beginning a campus master planning process that will draw its direction specifically from the priorities and initiatives in VCU's new Strategic Plan and build off recent and ongoing studies. The goal of this planning effort is to develop a comprehensive and flexible plan that addresses the needs of the university over the next 10-15 years. The plan will be a coordinated roadmap for the University and Health System. The five-phase planning process is scheduled to occur over a 15-month period. The Planning Team is led by Ayers Saint Gross, an internationally recognized architectural, planning, and design firm. The team also includes a number of consultants, some local to Richmond that will focus on campus heritage, landscape architecture – open space and streetscape, civil engineering, cost estimating, and financial feasibility. (Read More)