A Campus Planning Opening House is being held in the E.W. Fairchild-Martindale Library Lobby from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 18. The event will give the Lehigh community a chance to learn more about the Strategic Plan and the future of architecture on campus. (Courtesy of Nancy Trainer)

Student input welcomed at Campus Planning Open House


A Campus Planning Open House will be hosted April 18 for the community to learn about potential advancements being brought to campus through the Lehigh Strategic Plan, Inspiring the Future Makers. 

At the event, attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the campus planning process and provide input through activities like interactive mapping to help plan the future of campus. 

Guests will have a chance to speak with campus architects, planners and engineers to share their ideas.

Nancy Trainer, the associate vice president for Facilities and Campus Planning, said a table will outline the scope and process of campus planning. This table will show how the current phase of the Strategic Plan is focused on discovery and analysis. 

Trainer discussed the process of hiring Beyer Blinder Belle, a New York architecture and campus planning firm. The firm is the primary campus planner and will be accompanied by different consultants, providing expertise at the Open House.

“The campus planning effort will look at our physical campus to see how it might better facilitate and align with the goals of the Strategic Plan,” Trainer said.

As part of the initiative, Trainer said other tables will discuss topics such as housing, transportation, recreation and sustainability. The event will address aspects of campus life, including navigating from Asa Packer Campus to the Hill, Mountaintop, Goodman and Saucon Village. Additionally, a sustainability consultant will discuss Lehigh’s climate action goals.

“I think a really important thing, particularly at Lehigh, is to think about open space and the environment,” Trainer said. 

Christine Cook, vice president of Strategic Planning and Initiatives, said the Strategic Plan is intended to set the highest strategic goals for Lehigh. She said events like open houses will effectively inform the institution on where to allocate time and resources, while also determining where to invest in future decisions.

“As we think about the particular kinds of research we want to focus on, or the fact that we want to have more interdisciplinary opportunities, we want to make sure our faculty hires resemble that,” Cook said. 

Nathan Urban, provost and vice president of academic affairs, encourages people to attend the open house and bring their ideas and thoughts regarding the future of campus. 

“We’re always looking to gather peoples’ ideas and thoughts about the physical layout of campus and how it affects learning and the lives of faculty and staff,” Urban said. 

Urban said a key question that emerged through the planning process was about the connection between the Asa Packer Campus and Mountaintop.

“How is it that we foster that?” Urban said. “How do we think about the distribution of activities and the distribution of people across those two campuses that allow those two campuses to support the work that we’re doing in the best way possible?”  

Urban said the intersection between the university and the larger Bethlehem community is also important. He said by improving this intersection, Lehigh can think about how to improve the student experience as it relates to the exchanges between the university and the local community.

Urban said he encourages everyone to step out of their own shoes and consider the wider implications of any changes or ideas they propose at the Open House. 

“You can go there with ideas, but hopefully, given the format of it, there’ll be some opportunities for back and forth and discussion,” Urban said. 


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