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CSU unveils master plan, vision for downtown campus | Local News

Cleveland State University announced Nov. 17 its new master plan proposal that will guide the development of the university’s physical campus over the next decade.

The estimated $650 million proposal is designed to support the university’s academic and research missions, enhance the student experience and increase and elevate on-campus housing, expand partnerships and drive economic development, the release said. The plans also call for the demolition of the Wolstein Center and the addition of a smaller venue named for the Wolsteins with a court named after Henry Goodman. The design also improves pedestrian access and movement through the area and includes critical intersection improvements at Chester Avenue and East 21st Street, Chester Avenue and East 22nd Street, Euclid Avenue and East 21st Street and Euclid Avenue and East 22nd Street.

CSU has contracted with Sasaki, an architecture, planning, landscape and design firm, to develop the master plan. Sasaki has worked with universities around the world, including American University in Cairo, Arizona State University, Emory University, Purdue University, Loyola University and Case Western Reserve University, the release said.

“Our location in downtown Cleveland is one of our greatest assets,” CSU President Laura Bloomberg said in the release. “As an urban public research university, we have a special obligation to serve the public good. For CSU that means providing an accessible, quality education for all on our campus, while serving as a catalyst for growth for our city and the region. Our master plan provides the infrastructure to support that mission.”

The plan calls for a mixed-use, compact campus core that strengthens corridors across campus and better connects the university to the surrounding city. It lays out a strategy for new and updated communities on campus that include the academic core, a student experience district and a partnership district, the release said.

Plans for the academic core, which is an area bounded by Carnegie and Euclid avenues between East 22nd and East 18th streets, call for a renovated Rhodes Tower, new student housing and a new campus quadrangle, the release said. Rhodes Tower, which is used as a classroom and office building housing the CSU library, will be re-imagined – with a student life and social space around the library on the first four floors of the building and 13 floors of new housing for nearly 500 students.

“Bringing together living, learning, dining and recreational spaces in our iconic building is designed to activate and energize our campus core,” David Jewell, CSU senior vice president of business affairs and chief financial officer, said in the release. “Rhodes tower will be the hub of a dynamic, active, 24/7 community.”

West of Rhodes Tower will be two new academic buildings, designed to house active learning classrooms, laboratories and collaborative spaces and will be able to evolve with changing teaching and learning methods. One of those buildings will also include campus housing.

A campus quad will also be created between that new academic building and the music and communication building to the south, the release said. The new quad will connect to the existing student center plaza, increasing the green space in the campus core. The academic core also includes a plan for a corporate connector building to the east of Berkman Hall. Plans call for this center to act as a “front door” to the university for corporate and other partners linking them to research, faculty experts and a workforce made up of CSU graduates and students, the release said.

The student residential experience district planned for the area north of Chester Avenue between East 18th Street and Interstate 90 will feature additional student housing, student recreation and athletics facilities, the release said. A signature element of the new student residential experience district is a new multi-purpose arena that would replace Wolstein Center. The 5,000- to 7,000-seat arena would be home to CSU’s basketball team, concerts and other events. It could also housing learning spaces for complementary academic programs like sport and entertainment management, the release said.

The district connects Krenzler Field and the university’s softball field on the west side of campus to the new arena and current student recreation center in the east. Plans for additional recreation and athletics facilities include a new indoor field hour and covered tennis courts. Three new residence halls are planned for the center of the district, providing housing for nearly 1,400 students.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to better link our students and the community to CSU athletics while creating vibrant entertainment opportunities in this part of downtown,” Bloomberg said in the release. “We want enhance the experience for our students, student athletes and fans, and draw more visitors to campus.”

In place of the Wolstein Center, a partnership district could be home to nearly 800,000-square feet of mixed-use development designed to drive economic development in the area and connect partners to CSU, the release said.

“This district provides an opportunity for us to work with the city, county, and our education, corporate and health care partners to develop 10 acres of prime, downtown real estate next to a major RTA hub and a parking garage,” Jewell said in the release. “The possible collaborations and benefits to the university and the community are only limited by our imagination.”

There are no firm time lines at present for the implementation of the master plan. Next steps in finalizing the master plan include budget development, designs, timelines and funding.


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