University aims to increase enrollment to 35,000

Preparing for an increase in enrollment, improvement of campus facilities and a better utilization of space, a committee appointed by Portland State president Daniel Bernstine will meet regularly this fall to form a 12-year plan for the future of the university.


Starting in March 2005 and going through 2017, the committee of students, faculty and staff is headed by campus design and planning manager Ernest Tipton and has set a goal to identify how to fulfill the university’s mission and accommodate the growing academic, research and campus living needs of the university.


Tipton said that the main goal of the committee is “trying to link development with change in environment (enrollment) on campus.”


Currently the committee, which includes Vice Provost Dan Fortmiller, music professor Bryan Johanson and student Lynn Weigand, is basing its recommendations on the expectation that the enrollment of the university will reach 35,000 students in the long-term.


The committee recommends the addition of 113 total classrooms, an increase to 1,500 total parking spaces and more bicycle parking on campus.


Also in the twelve-year plan is a proposal to make the campus more pedestrian-friendly, calling for better pedestrian circulation in the University District and further development of pedestrian corridors.


The group also recommends that the new recreation center be built to better accommodate the student body as it grows into the 35,000 estimate. The committee hopes that 1,050 new housing units will be built in order to increase the percentage of on campus living students from 6 percent to 10 percent. Campus facilities will also need change, such as what is happening currently with the $13 million renovation of Shattuck Hall.


Beyond this renovation, Tipton believes that some buildings will need to be replaced.

“A number of the buildings are underutilized or antiquated,” Tipton said. “It would be more cost effective to replace them.”


The committee will continue to meet until some time near March of 2006 and plans to further the ideas and recommendations it has continued to make, according to Cathy Dyck, interim vice president of finance and administration.


“The committee will get to the place where they are a bit better solidified by March or April,” said Dyck, who oversees the committee’s progress along with Dean Emeritus and former campus planner Nohad Toulan and Joseph Zehnder, Principle Planner of the City of Portland.


Toulan believes this plan is necessary to the success of the university. Thought the most recent plan expired in 2005, Toulan held that it has been the same basic plan that was created in the late 1970s, when he was chairman of campus planning.


“The plan will be changed to include different projections,” Dyck said, referencing the changes made to the previous plan when the Broadway building was constructed. “This is a very good way for PSU to look at what we’ve done and a good way to look towards the future. It lists overall needs.”


Fulfilling these needs could possibly help satisfy one of the first recommendations of the committee, saying PSU should be a model research institution and urban university. Along with the projected 35,000 students, they hope to increase research funding to the university from $34 million in 2004 to $77 million as a long-term goal.