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Trinity University Will Seek Placement on the National Register of Historic Places

Trinity Community,

I am excited to announce that Trinity University will seek placement on the National Register of Historic Places to create a historic district for the Trinity campus. Approved by the University's Board of Trustees, this initiative is part of the University's recently completed Campus Master Plan. The Campus Master Plan process helped to reinforce the historic nature of our campus and Trinity's duty to honor the legacy of O'Neil Ford's architecture and our significant collection of mid-century modern buildings. Establishing a historic district for the campus is a dramatic step forward that could bring national attention to Trinity and be a differentiator in the competitive higher education marketplace.

The Trinity Tomorrow strategic plan called for the development of a campus master plan that would "ensure future building projects are consistent with the vision and design principles of founding architect O'Neil Ford, the values of a Trinity education, and changing campus needs." A historic district can afford Trinity a number of benefits, including earning the University tax credits with a potential financial benefit of approximately 20 percent of qualified renovation expenses. There are no mandatory restrictions that accompany a National Register listing. As a historic district, the University will seek to preserve the exteriors of buildings. With the exception of notable interior features, Trinity will be allowed significant latitude to renovate the interiors of the buildings within the district.

The Campus Master Plan is the result of a year-and-a-half-long collaborative planning process that has engaged faculty, staff, students, alumni, and external stakeholders. The plan pairs the University's academic mission and the strategic plan objectives with Trinity's historic architectural legacy to create a vision for the campus that is inspiring, functional, and enduring.

One of the signature strategies of the Campus Master Plan calls for establishing a main entrance on Hildebrand Avenue that will create the sense of the University's "front door." A northern gateway will provide an outward face to the University for prospective students and their families, alumni, and visitors and clearly signal arrival on the Trinity campus. The initiative also calls for building a new "Welcome Center" to be located just south of the new entrance drive that could serve as an admissions or alumni center.

The plan activates the "Living/Learning Corridor" that extends from the new campus entrance on Hildebrand to the south entrance near the Bell Athletic Center. The "corridor" will enhance connections between upper and lower campus, improve pedestrian navigation of the campus, and introduce several activity nodes designed to strengthen the campus' east-west connections.

Some of the other key strategies in the plan include:

  • Re-imaging of the Coates University Center as the central dining facility on campus and adding a 500-guest ballroom that can be reconfigured for use as a conference facility.
  • Improvements to existing student housing and the addition of independent living options. The plan identifies the need for renovations of residence halls to create more single rooms, and the addition of kitchens and common space. The recent purchase of City Vista apartments, which will begin housing juniors, seniors, and graduate students this fall, helped the University leap ahead on one of the residential initiatives – to provide apartment-style living for juniors and seniors.
  • A new wayfinding program to provide signage for better navigation of the campus.
  • Replacement of one of the existing parking lots on lower campus with intramural green space.
  • The option of linking a renovated Chapman Center and Halsell Administrative Studies with Coates Library with a structure that will connect these buildings, expand space, and foster interaction across disciplines.

We are heirs to a historic campus, a mid-century modern masterpiece. The campus is now more than 50 years old, and we must adapt it to meet 21st century needs. The Campus Master Plan will be our guide and includes priorities to renovate some of our oldest buildings and facilities – such as Chapman Center, Halsell, and the Trinity football stadium. Trinity's Campus Master Planning committee, in partnership with architectural group Page, guided the development of a plan that will have a lasting and positive impact on the Trinity community. I am grateful to the committee members. They have worked with tireless dedication on this project. Please congratulate your colleagues on a job well done the next time you see them.

Campus Master Plan Committee:

Diane Graves, Chair
Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs; University Librarian & Professor

James (Jim) Baker
Director, Facilities Services

Gordon Bohmfalk
Director, Campus Planning & Sustainability

Richard Burr, PhD
Professor Emeritus

Wanda Olson
Assistant Director, Residential Life

Bob King
Director, Athletics

Corinne Pache, Ph.D.
Associate Professor & Chair, Classical Studies

Harry Wallace, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Psychology

Gary Logan (ex officio)
Vice President, Finance & Administration

Carol Folbre '81, Ph.D.
Alumni Association Board

I look forward to sharing additional information about the Campus Master Plan in upcoming meetings as we continue our work to ensure Trinity is a "University of the first order" as envisioned by our founders almost 150 years ago.


Danny Anderson