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New master plan supports growth, campus life at WSSU

Rendering from WSSU's new master plan envisions a new gateway to the university at Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. To the left is a renovated and expanded Hall Patterson Building. (Sasaki Associates, with Design Distill)

Architects have unveiled a long-term vision for Winston-Salem State University’s campus that supports growth and offers enhanced amenities for students. 

 “The master plan for Winston-Salem State University’s 117-acre campus will provide a roadmap for strategic long-term growth over the next 20 years,” said Constance Mallette, vice chancellor of finance and administration for WSSU. “Guided by the 2016-21 Strategic Plan, this document supports the growth of academic programs and advances the living/learning concept, which focuses on creating facilities that support high-impact teaching practices and enhanced student learning.”

The master plan, which was introduced at the WSSU Board of Trustees meeting on June 8, proposes 1.35-million square feet of new construction, including:

  • Four new academic buildings to support science, allied health and graduate programs in the emerging Science District. WSSU would look to acquire space that became vacant last year with the closure of the U.S. 52 entrance ramp at Rams Drive to expand the district.
  • The renovation and expansion of Hall Patterson, R.J. Reynolds Center, Hauser Hall of Music, and the Physical Plant (Arts + Visual Studies Department) to support liberal education.
  • The construction of two new residence halls and an expansion of Atkins and Martin-Schexnider residence halls.
  • Expanded athletics facilities, including a 6,000-seat football stadium, and a 3,000-seat convocation center, both located within the campus core.
  • Two proposed multi-tiered parking garages that would support sustainable energy with rooftop solar panels and create more than 1,200 parking spaces.
  • A mixed-use North Campus Gateway Center that would provide office space and support the East End Master Plan that is being developed by the city of Winston-Salem.
  • A new student success center.
  • A renovated library with a new café and social space spilling out to the Pegram Green.

Over the nine-month “visioning process,” which began in June 2017, staff from the global design firm Sasaki Associates met with WSSU administrators, faculty, staff and students to identify opportunities for improvements, she said. They also analyzed overall growth. 

Mallette said out of those meetings, five main ideas were incorporated as part of the vision: 

  • Supporting Liberal Education and Graduation Programs: Support the growth of graduate programs by developing in the Science District, with new buildings as well as social learning spaces.
  • Engaging Communities and Enhanced Connectivity: An overhead pedestrian crosswalk to improve pedestrian safety and connectivity along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Also, two primary accessible routes through the core of campus.
  • Environmental Stewardship: Nearly $25 million in utilities and infrastructure improvements – electrical, steam, chilled water, technology – over the next five years.
  • Restore the Core: Enhancing existing open spaces to connect core activities and facilities to make the campus even more memorable.
  • Vibrant Campus Life: Creating more on-campus amenities and jobs, especially late night and on weekends, to build more of support system and community on campus.

The plan, which was unanimously approved by the Board of Trustees, was presented by Greg Haven, planner and architect for Sasaki.

WSSU currently has about 5,100 students and nearly 1,000 full- and part-time employees. The master plan, which cost $450,000, prepares WSSU for 12 percent growth over the next five years. That equals about 650 additional students –  441 undergraduate and 208 graduate students.

The master plan projects future construction totaling $556 million in current dollars. Nothing outlined in the plan currently has funding associated. 

A committee of 32 faculty, staff, administrators and students advised on the plan. Sasaki Associates also completed the 2011 master plan.

WSSU updates its master plan at least every 10 years.

Since the last master plan seven years ago, WSSU has added nearly 270,000 square feet of new and renovated spaces. Nearly $100 million in construction is underway or planned on campus, including H. Douglas Covington Hall, a new living/learning residence hall that will open in August, and a sciences building. Local and regional projects like the U.S. 52/Research Parkway interchange also occurred since 2011.

Check out these frequently asked questions about the new master plan for WSSU. 

 About Winston-Salem State University
Winston-Salem State University fosters the creative thinking, analytical problem-solving, and depth of character needed to transform the world. Rooted in liberal education, WSSU’s curriculum prepares students to be thought leaders who have the skills and knowledge needed to develop innovative solutions to complex problems. Founded in 1892, WSSU is a historically Black constituent institution of the University of North Carolina with a rich tradition of contributing to the social, cultural, intellectual, and economic growth of North Carolina, the region and beyond. Guided by the motto, “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve,” WSSU develops leaders who advance social justice by serving the world with compassion and commitment.

Rending shows an aerial view of the expanded campus core, new green space and a new football stadium and convocation center. (Sasaki Associates, with Design Distill)

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