March 1, 2013

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

Carleton’s recently-adopted Strategic Plan affirms our commitment to preserve and enhance our academic excellence so that we remain one of the very best liberal arts colleges in the world. The plan lays out critical next steps we must take to secure the College’s continued success and distinction.

One of those key initiatives is to make focused investments in facilities that directly advance Carleton’s mission. The plan identifies both the three most pressing physical plant projects to be addressed in the next decade (classrooms, science facilities, music/public events venues), as well as other priorities that require attention in the near term.

In order to determine how best to meet the goals and address the principal issues identified by the Strategic Plan, how best to use our extant space, and how best to anticipate and provide for future College needs, the Strategic Plan calls for a Facilities Master Plan. I am pleased to announce the creation of several committees to develop and recommend a draft plan to me and the College’s senior leadership team, for eventual review and adoption by Carleton’s Board of Trustees.

A Core Facilities Master Planning Committee, co-chaired by Vice President and Treasurer Fred Rogers and Associate Dean of the College and Professor of Biology Fernan Jaramillo, will be responsible for considering the overarching issues, such as the optimal long-term overall layout of the campus. This group will also consider the recommendations of two topic-focused planning groups:

  • A Science Planning Group, co-chaired by Associate Professor of Chemistry Joe Chihade and Fernan Jaramillo, which will study the investments in facilities necessary for the College to maintain its historic leadership in undergraduate physical and biological science education. This will involve determining the correct mix of renovating extant spaces and/or new construction to obtain needed modern, interactive teaching space, space for undergraduate and faculty research, appropriate faculty offices and infrastructure (e.g., storage and utilities), and the shared spaces we must have to drive forward interdisciplinary and cross-departmental teaching and research.
  • A Music and Public Events Venues Planning Group, co-chaired by Professor of Music Melinda Russell and Fred Rogers, which will consider the investments in facilities necessary for the College to meet the music teaching and performance needs of our academic and co-curricular programs (e.g., classrooms, rehearsal and storage spaces, practice rooms, and an appropriate smaller recital hall) and to meet campus needs for events requiring large (400-plus seat) venues.

The links to the charges and memberships for each of these committees are available on the toolbar to the left of this page. Consistent with our campus culture, this effort—which we aim to complete by the end of spring term 2014—will be transparent and broadly inclusive involving outreach to various constituencies to gather information and seek community input. I am enthusiastic about the work these Committees will do to address our current facilities needs and to provide a long-term map for the future.

Steve Poskanzer