The University of New Mexico recently initiated the planning process for its new, updated Integrated Campus Plan (ICP), and is looking for feedback and ideas from the campus community. The ICP will replace the 2009 Master Plan and address all UNM branches and properties.

The top-level plan is designed to support the mission, vision and strategic plan outlined in the UNM 2040 Strategic Plan. The philosophy behind an integrated campus plan is to engage every part of the University to work together toward a common vision.

The Integrated Campus Plan, which is being facilitated by UNM’s Planning, Design & Construction (PDC) team along with Sasaki Associates, an international planning and design firm, will guide the University's decisions on the physical environment, including the character of each campus, safety, access, mobility, and sustainability, and will provide a “road-map” to guide future development of UNM’s various campus landholdings and help facilitate decision-making around UNM’s physical assets.

The plan will focus on several key elements including strategic needs and program demand, facilities and campus systems. The driving document behind this initiative is UNM’s 2040 Vision, a comprehensive strategic plan outlining five goals designed to create opportunities to advance New Mexico, focus on the student experience and innovation within UNM’s educational enterprise, build on the strength of diverse cultures, establish an operational model that is environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable, and more fully integrate our activities as one University.

“Typically, it’s ideal to update a campus plan every five years, and prepare a new plan every 10 years,” said Rosie Dudley, university planner in the Department of Planning, Design & Construction. “The Integrated Campus Plan will replace the outdated plan and guide the University’s decisions on the physical environment over the next 20 years. This effort is timed with the UNM 2040 Plan. The ICP is grounded in the UNM 2040’s vision and goals and translates them into the physical environment.”

The 2040 plan will serve as the basis for determining programmatic needs and priorities and how the campus plan can manifest those strategies in physical form. In terms of facilities, the plan will consider the highest and best use for the campuses’ facilities. Analysis will consider deferred maintenance, building suitability, and programmatic fit. The plan also takes a holistic and systems-based approach to planning that considers the integration of various physical assets including open space, mobility networks, infrastructure, and sustainability.

“The ICP was initiated to ensure the goals and objectives set forth in the UNM 2040 are reflected across all of UNM’s property,” said Dudley. “The plan’s recommendations will enhance UNM’s campuses and help create more enlivened, safe, and sustainable environments that welcome a diverse community of students, staff, faculty, and neighbors.”

There will be three specific phases to the development of the ICP spanning the course of the next year. Phase 1, the Discovery and Analysis phase, began in September 2022 and will conclude this December. Phase 2 begins in January 2023 and includes the Development and Drafting of the plan which is expected to conclude in July 2023. Phase 3, the Implementation phase, begins in August 2023 and should be complete by November 2023.

The planning process will be highly participatory, with a range of synchronous and asynchronous touchpoints throughout the process. The consultant team will collect feedback in Phase 1 by using a custom interactive map-based survey and by conducting several stakeholder listening sessions. Phases 2 and 3 will involve hands-on opportunities for feedback, including open house-style town halls.

During the Phase 1, the Sasaki team will gather and integrate past campus plans and studies and conduct a thorough site visit to understand current conditions and key objectives for the Integrated Campus Plan. Key phase one developments will include a series of meetings with the UNM planning team (core team) and facilities management, collaborative defining of guiding principles, and stakeholder interviews with members of the UNM community from executive leadership to regents, administrators, faculty, staff, students, and community partners.

Following the site visit and information review. A site analysis will be prepared for all UNM’s campuses that will include an assessment on building density (FAR), current open space and landscape networks, utilities and infrastructure.

In phase two, concept plans will be developed and refined through the synthesis of research and working groups with relevant stakeholders (i.e., facilities, faculty, students, etc.). Scenarios will explore opportunities to renovate existing buildings, possible new facilities, investments in landscape and mobility, and the interface between the University’s campuses and surrounding communities.

This phase will also include modeling of proposed impacts on facilities, and compiling a set of design standards and guidelines to reinforce ideas within the broader Integrated Campus Plan effort and serve as a critical component guiding future implementation.

In Phase 3, Sasaki will develop a preferred plan based on input gathered throughout Phase 2. The plan will illustrate key ideas and recommendations of the selected plan and its supporting strategies in greater detail. The planning team will also identify priority projects to help the University develop an approach to phasing and implementation of future projects.

Community engagement will be key component throughout the entire process. For example, Phase 2 will include focus groups chosen by the University to explore first potential concept plans and to later identify preferred district-level plans. In Phase 3, Sasaki will incorporate any feedback provided during the comment phase and issue a final report in digital and print formats.

“The planning team aims to hear from students, staff, faculty, community partners, and neighbors to ensure the ideas and concerns are understood and integrated into the plan’s strategies,” said Dudley. “Over the course of the process, there will be opportunities to get involved—at in-person and virtual meetings and online. We urge you to spend some time sharing your ideas via the online mapping tool and survey.” 

For more information and to share your thoughts and ideas, visit the UNM Integrated Campus Plan website.