Buena Vista University in the Process of Developing Campus Master Plan

Olivia Wieseler, Co-Editor-in-Chief

During the week of Feb. 18, Buena Vista University (BVU) partnered with Credo, a consulting firm for higher education that specializes in private institutions, to host several discussions with faculty, staff, and students to come up with a campus master plan for the university.   

The campus master plan will be a living document that will evaluate BVU’s campus assets and discern how they can and will best suit students’ needs in the educational process.  Suzette Radke, BVU’s vice president of finance and administration, said that the campus master plan is a part of the larger strategic plan that BVU announced earlier in the fall. 

We’re taking a look at the strategic plan,” explains Radke. We say, ‘How can our assets relate to that? How can we use our assets, our buildings, and different things to relate to the strategic plan? The big goal is that it integrates academics, student life, athletics, and administration.” 

The four main goals of the strategic plan are to tell a compelling story, to inspire students, to transform communities, and to have a focused growth. Credo had also assisted with creating the strategic plan, so Radke and other BVU leaders thought it only natural that they help with the campus master plan as well.  Credo met with many people across campus this past week, hosting discussions about what people want and need on this campus.   

 “We love to look at it through the lens of the student experience, holistically, and making sure your spaces and places are aligning with BVU’s mission statement and the goals that each of the programs have for themselves,” said Katie Sparrow, a campus planner with Credo, at a meeting with students on the night of Tuesday, Feb. 19. 

 The meeting consisted of about a half hour of Sparrow asking the students questions about BVU’s campus and another half hour letting the students indicate on large maps of campus where their favorite places are, where they meet with faculty, and what their walking paths are like, among other factors. Sparrow and the rest of the Credo team also spent a good chunk of the week taking tours around campus, both during the day and at night, to get a real sense of the campus through a college student’s eyes. 

“BVU is definitely a step ahead of other campuses that we’ve seen,” said Sparrow at the Tuesday meeting. 

Radke said she was pleased with the faculty, staff and student engagement at the meetings with Credo.  There was a total of 57 students who attended two meetings and over 120 faculty, staff and administrators over the course of the three meetings.  

What’s exciting is people are interested in giving their views, giving their ideas, and I’m just excited to hear what those are and what things we can do,” said Radke. “It doesn’t mean it’s all going to happen, but we’re planning it, and we’ll be getting a plan for the future.” 

The draft of the campus master plan will be presented to the Board of Trustees in May.