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Since its founding in 1856, the Auburn University campus has undergone significant development and change as academic and non-academic programs have shifted, grown or multiplied. Even with the significant development of the campus over the last half of the 20th century, Auburn has remained in the hearts and minds of students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends around the world as the “Loveliest Village”—a distinction in keeping with its literary namesake.
In the first decade of the 21st century, the Auburn community came together in support of two major planning initiatives with the goal of renewing and enhancing the unique character of the campus. That goal was first addressed in the Image and Character Study commissioned by the Board of Trustees and completed in 2001. The Image and Character Study represented a quality control measure to ensure that future planning and design efforts would enhance the visual “brand” and identity of Auburn University. The second initiative involved the development of the Comprehensive Campus Master Plan, which was completed in 2002. The 2002 Master Plan established a guide for developing the campus in a manner that would preserve and enhance the sense of beauty and community essential to the Auburn Spirit. The Board of Trustees adopted the Comprehensive Campus Master Plan as a “living document,” to be revisited and revised, at a minimum, every five years. The Plan was last updated in 2007.
The strength of these planning initiatives focus on providing a framework by which Auburn can achieve its goal of remaining America’s “Loveliest Village,” while further developing the academic, research, athletic, and technological environment which has enabled Auburn to prosper and rise in the rankings of public institutions of higher education.
Fundamentally, campus master plans are tools to align the long range facility needs of the university to a strategic direction and/or common vision. As needs and strategic direction shift, the master plan should function as a “living document” to adapt and support the revised goals and aspirations of the institution. In response, the office of Campus Planning and Space Management is evolving the update process to assure that long range facilities plans are driven by, integrated with, and acknowledge the academic and non-academic needs of the institution and ultimately inform the strategic planning processes of the University.