News of the College Novemberspring2006

Sketching Reed’s Future

The college has submitted a proposed master plan to the City of Portland that reflects Reed’s intention to build a center for the performing arts and to expand the number of students living on campus.

Those were two of the new initiatives that emerged from a year-long strategic planning process concluded last September, the deliberations of a committee appointed by President Colin Diver, and a series of open planning sessions eliciting input from campus constituencies—from trustees to neighborhood residents.

Because of Portland zoning laws, Reed is required to file a plan with the city every 10 years to retain its right to operate in a residential area. The last plan, approved in 2001, did not project the college’s decision to purchase and raze the defunct Eastmoreland Hospital at the northwest corner of the campus in 2004. That action triggered the need for a new plan.

“The plan deals with what parts of the campus will remain open space, where we might build, and what impact that could have on traffic flow and parking, the environment, and so forth,” says Edwin McFarlane, vice president and treasurer.

A draft of the plan, which does not envision increasing the size of Reed’s student body, was presented to the city in February with an eye toward municipal approval following a public hearing in late spring. The specific goals cited in the document signal Reed’s hope to:

  • Construct a performing arts center with suitable space for theatre, dance, and music instruction, practice, support, storage, and performance;
  • Build new residence halls and replace others, increasing the number of students living in dormitories by 100 to 150;
  • Increase the number of classrooms and faculty offices to accommodate curriculum expansion;
  • Move community safety closer to the main campus entrance and reconfigure the entrance to promote pedestrian access;
  • Add a child-care facility for children of employees and students, and additional space for meetings, conferences, and related entertainment.

One item in the plan attracting significant local attention is Parker House, an erstwhile residence across Woodstock Boulevard from the campus that was acquired by the college in December 2004 for meetings and receptions. The college has said that it will closely regulate events to reduce potential impacts, and that restoration of the historic 1929 brick Arts and Crafts structure and its grounds has already improved the neighborhood.

A dowloadable master plan is now available.