UH Today News

Office of Internal Communications

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July 10, 2006


The University of Houston has launched the first phase of its long-range plan for the campus community with the start of several projects this summer.

“The plan provides a framework that says as we grow our campus, we should do so in a way that builds on the strengths of UH such as the courtyards and pedestrian walkways,” said Dave Irvin, associate vice president for facilities and plant operations. “These projects are a great beginning in meeting that goal.”

The projects improve the campus in a way that integrate UH with the neighborhood more effectively, and they provide more student-friendly spaces, he said.

The first project is on University Drive, where UH recently completed landscaping and lighting improvements from Spur 5 to Calhoun Road. The current work includes installing new light fixtures on the street from Calhoun to the E. Cullen Building. Crews also are removing the low hill that obscures the view of E. Cullen Performance Hall from Entrance 1. UH will add landscaping and pedestrian amenities in the fall semester.

“That area will serve as a formal entry and greeting that will take people to the heart of campus and will tie into the new garage and Welcome Center, which is expected to be completed by the end of this month,” Irvin explained.

Additionally, UH is developing a student-oriented, pedestrian space in the area south of the Gerald D.

Hines College of Architecture to Butler Plaza and the front of the M.D. Anderson Library. The first stage of the project will be complete in September.

“We will not eliminate parking in that area, but we will add new landscaping, lighting and benches to make the area a more interesting walkway,” Irvin said.

Recently, UH added new lights and landscaping to Entrance 14 on Cullen Boulevard. This summer, the upgrade will continue with the addition of new sidewalks, landscaping, benches and other street furniture from Cullen Boulevard to Philip G. Hoffman Hall. Workers should finish the project before the start of the fall semester.

In another project, UH hopes to dovetail onto Harris County’s and the city of Houston’s effort to enhance landscaping on the bayou west of the Texas Medical Center to the Houston Ship Channel. As part of the initiative, MacGregor Park, which is located near campus, will receive major improvements, including jogging trails and new landscaping. UH plans to use similar landscaping and jogging trails from the area where Martin Luther King Boulevard and Wheeler Avenue join to the campus “as a way to tie to the neighborhood and bring landscaping definition to an area that has
been long neglected,” Irvin said.

In a time of limited financial resources, UH is funding these projects primarily from interest earned on a bond that was issued in 1999 for landscaping enhancements, and the work is being done by UH employees, said Irvin.

“Many times after a campus master plan is produced and unveiled, it’s then placed on a shelf,”
Irvin said. “What’s different about this plan is that we are implementing some of its key parts.”

Francine Parker