Mount Mercy University Master Plan

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Mount Mercy University is a small private Catholic university in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In coordination with their 2008 Strategic Plan, Mount Mercy retained OPN Architects to develop and implement an environmentally-responsible and community-conscious Campus Master Plan.

OPN conducted a comprehensive review of the existing campus facilities and provided a multi-phased plan that identified improvements to the 40-acre campus and prioritized a series of renovations, additions, and new facilities for various programs at the College.

Early in the planning process, OPN utilized targeted surveys, focus groups and interviews to gather campus input on key priorities. Other input, critical to understanding the unique nature of each program or portions of the campus, was gathered by touring facilities, reviewing existing conditions and assessing current department allocations and curriculum goals. Additional discovery was accomplished through subsequent interviews and the participation of the Strategic Planning Advisory Committee. A Charrette process was then facilitated by a team of OPN Designers with participation of faculty, staff, and students to identify the most promising Campus Plan opportunities. By engaging the campus community in this ideation phase, the team and administration solicited a great variety of ideas and options for consideration. Initial organizational concepts first identified during this process and informed 3D massing and the testing fits for preliminary space plans.

The primary goal of the Master Plan is to reinforce institutional pride, identity, and unity through creation of an engaging campus environment. Improvements to the campus will ultimately create a series of unique social and cultural centers that will support and foster a vibrant collegiate community. Creation of formal and informal learning environments, or gathering places, will provide the venue for socialization and personal discovery that enriches student life. The final Campus Master Plan was accompanied by a comprehensive Implementation Plan that will inform and guide Mount Mercy University well into the future.

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