by Lance Turner
Posted 11/20/2013 02:53 pm
Updated 9 months ago
University of Central Arkansas President Tom Courtway unveiled Wednesday what the Conway university is calling a comprehensive growth strategy, which includes new mixed-use development along Donaghey Avenue.
Courtway gave an overview of the plan as part of his formal investiture ceremony, which took place at the Donald W. Reynolds Performance Hall.
The plan, called "Framework for the Future - A Blueprint for National Leadership and Regional Prominence," has three main areas of focus:
- To become one the top regional universities in the South.
- To create a campus that attracts and retains the best students, faculty, and staff.
- To maximize external relations effectiveness.
Specific goals include achieving enrollment of 13,500 students within five years. The current enrollment is 11,500. UCA also wants a six-year graduation rate of 60 percent for the 2016 entering freshman class.
But there's a host of building projects in the works as well, according a university statement outlining the plan:
Several campus facilities are targeted for evaluation, renovation, expansion, or replacement. These include the natural sciences building, Lewis Science Center, and the nursing and health sciences building. New facilities called for in the plan announced today include planning for a center for performing arts, a Greek village housing system, and a “Greek” community center, recently approved by UCA’s Board of Trustees. The university is also in the process of expanding its fitness center. The expansion is scheduled to be completed in October 2014.
And that's to say nothing of UCA's vision for a stretch of Donaghey Avenue between South Boulevard and Bruce Street, which is directly across the street from Harding Centennial Plaza:
UCA is undertaking the planning and design process to create a mixed-use development along Donaghey Avenue between South Boulevard and Bruce Street. It is envisioned that the block will include ground-level retail and commercial ventures, and innovative student housing on upper floors. Among the aesthetic improvements would be medians and landscaping, in addition to traffic flow enhancements to Donaghey Avenue. Conversations with the City of Conway have begun.
You can download UCA's full document on the "Framework for the Future" right here (PDF), which gives a loose overview of the plan, including a tentative timeline for the work on the mixed-used development.
In short, preliminary steps toward architectural and engineering work would begin this summer with a groundbreaking taking place in the fall of 2014. UCA is aiming for occupancy of the new center to begin in fall 2016.