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Interesting the mention of lasers. In Malott there is limited space for the Physics department to do laser work. It has to be on the basement floor. Any higher and the minute vibrations in the floor throw off the picometer level of precision necessary.
"It’s a tough enough task to guess how Kansas University’s campus might need to change to teach future students who are now in high school, or even perhaps middle school.
But the consultants working now on a KU master plan are thinking beyond that: What about future Jayhawks who are still toddlers? What will they need on campus? And what will KU scientists be researching by then?"
The employment landscape is a wild guess. How can any consultant know what people will need 30 years from now?
20 million USA full time workers are out of jobs. Where will these new grads of the future find jobs? Will these new grads need to plan for a commute to China,India or Brazil? Quite long commutes I'd say.
How about a remote park-and-walk/bike trail linking the current west campus with the undeveloped land that stretches to Kasold? I live in west Lawrence but am hesitant to bike on or along 15th Stree/Bob Billings to campus. A bike/fitness trail through the undeveloped land would be pretty cool.
The street work on bob billings west of Iowa needs to incorporate on street bike lanes to facilitate active transportation connections between KU and the apartment complexes there. Any guesses as to whether that is included in the project scope? It's a good thing KDOT subsidizes the transportation planning in this town or we would really be up a creek...
I would rather have 6' sidewalks (like on 23rd street) instead of on street lanes on that stretch of road. As a cyclist I wouldn't feel that safe with the hills that encourage more speed and blind views.
If KU is predicting 26,000 students in ten years, the student population is slipping. It has been as high as 27,000 in the past. In fact, I'll bet the student population has been about the same over the thirty years that I have read about it. The chances of the state population increasing are not good, because the rate of increased population is decreasing nation-wide. In other words, the population is not growing as fast as it used to.
KU should be planning infill and renewal instead of campus sprawl. KU has trouble maintaining the buildings it has now. Yes, KU needs updating. Sprawl is not necessary to update. I can see why the state legislature has stubbornly cut university budgets. KUs knee-jerk response was to raise tuition rather than to evaluate programs and services. KU would be wise to have a conservative approach towards modernizing its campus.
I absolutely agree that less sprawl is better (i.e., keep student-facing facilities on the main campus).
I personally believe that these consultants are hired just so that the administrations wanting to expand can exert pressure on the relevant legislators/donors to make it happen. Given the higher ed bubble that already exists and the dramatic building programs taking place at universities across the country, I would expect that many institutions are FAR overbuilding for the growth that will actually occur.
Students/parents are already under tremendous financial strain as tuitions have far outpaced inflation, and a lot of the unnecessary elements of campus expansion are going to worsen this for students in coming years. KU students have it easy compared to those in some other states (where in-state tuition is ludicrous), but a lot of kids are coming out with degrees of questionable value and accompanied with tens or hundreds of thousands in debt.
The population of Kansas is shrinking. It is a smart move on the part of KU to have a "growth" plan that includes realistic assessment of future enrollment.
The future of KU will need to include higher tuition, higher admissions standards, and aggressive recruiting of the best students in Kansas and the region.
In other words, KU must start acting like a flagship research institution rather than just one of the many regent's institutions.
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