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UB assembles impressive team to help develop new master plan

The University at Buffalo has awarded $4.5 million worth of contracts to a team of well-known architects and planners that will help redesign UB's campuses for future growth, the university announced Monday.

UB has brought aboard Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners to lead the development of a physical master plan for the university, its first since the North Campus was built in Amherst more than 30 years ago.

Beyer Blinder Belle -- which has offices in New York City, Washington D.C. and Beijing -- has extensive experience in higher-education planning and architectural design. It has worked with schools including Princeton, Indiana and Stony Brook universities, UB officials said.

Subcontractors will include Andropogon Associates of Philadelphia, DEGW of Chicago and VFA of Boston.

The $4.5 million contract is funded through UB's capital budget. A draft of the plan should be completed by June 2008.

Under President John B. Simpson, UB envisions growing the university by 10,000 students, 750 faculty and 600 staff by the year 2020.

Developing a comprehensive master plan to accommodate that growth is an exciting new chapter in UB's history, Simpson said.

"For UB to attract the best faculty and student talent, we must offer the highest-quality campus environment," Simpson said in a prepared statement.

The physical planning will begin immediately with an assessment of the condition of all UB facilities, said Robert G. Shibley, UB professor of architecture and planning, and senior adviser for campus planning.

UB's master plan will focus on the physical configuration of the campuses in Amherst, on Main Street and downtown, where UB now has the Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences.

The goal is to create three distinctive campus environments through construction, renovation and expansion.

A major emphasis will be to create a more lively, village-like atmosphere on the campuses, seamlessly connecting academic buildings, student residences and campus meeting places, Shibley explained.

"In essence," he said, "we're undertaking an historic 're-imagining' of UB."


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