The Claremont McKenna College (CMC) Board of Trustees has approved a 25-year master plan intended to guide the school through expansion and renovation.
Key points of the plan are the relocation of sports fields and the addition of a new fitness center, campus center, and two academic buildings.
The planning began in 2005 when the college approached the 5-C consortium and asked permission to acquire consortium-owned land east of Claremont Boulevard, which was eventually awarded. CMC Vice President for Administration and Planning Matthew Bibbens said planning at the college in the past had been made more difficult because of the large area the fields occupy, so they were glad to gain access to more space.
“If we were going to have the ability to grow as an intimate campus, we needed a solution for [the athletic fields],” Bibbens said.
Bibbens said the initial conversations led to the development of 12 possible long-term plans. Master Plan Architect Moore Ruble Yudell and the planning committee held focus groups and student workshops to narrow the choices down to the final two plans presented to the Board of Trustees.
“There are probably those who don’t agree with all parts of the plan. But we’ve let everyone have a voice,” said CMC President Pamela Gann.
Campus improvements were modeled around a potential student body of 1,400 students, which is the enrollment limit established by the college’s constitution.
Construction will occur mainly in the heart of the campus: there will be a new campus center with adjoining dining hall, several new academic buildings, and a more modern fitness and athletics center to replace Ducey Gymnasium.
“One of our most important guiding points was maintaining the intimacy of the college,” Gann said. “We were extremely attentive to retaining the natural running-in and seeing-one-another that occurs on campus.”
She also said the plan calls for the installation of benches and amphitheaters as casual gathering places for students.
To strengthen campus identity, the college will also improve the definition of the campus borders and make the entries and gateways more obvious. The plan also outlines the possible construction of an alumni house and residential quad, as well as the replacement of the current apartment complex with a higher-density model.
The committee expects to use traditional methods, including using bond financing, gift donations, and tapping into the college’s renewal and replacement reserve to fund the projects.
Bibbens said it will be some time before the college begins to put the plan into action.
“We’re not ready to start breaking ground just yet,” Bibbens said. “Right now, our focus is on the construction of the Kravis Center and getting the planning process publicly approved.”
The Building and Grounds Committee will now begin the plan’s public phase, expected to last no more than a year, during which it will request public feedback and city approval.