Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Campus Plan Spring Update

Publish Date 4/17/17


When will the full campus plan be shared?

We expect to complete the planning process in time to publish the campus planning framework in the fall of 2017.

What is a “planning framework” and how is it different from a “master plan”?

A planning framework identifies options for campus development and provides a range of considerations to take into account in making decisions in the future about the location of facilities, pathways, and other modifications to the physical campus.  A master plan identifies proposed locations for certain kinds of uses.  Princeton’s framework plan will include recommended locations for some specified facilities that have been identified as priorities by the University as a result of the strategic planning framework adopted by the Board of Trustees in January 2016.  

What is the difference between the campus plan and the capital plan?

The campus plan, which has been informed by the strategic planning process, will provide guidance for the administration and the trustees as they make decisions about the future physical development of the campus.  The campus plan identifies choices for where growth can be accommodated.  The capital plan reflects the University’s funding strategies for projects the University chooses to pursue.  Neither addresses the specific siting of buildings or building design.

Providing Input

What has been the process for getting input on the plan from the campus community and the non-campus community?

The campus planning process has been informed by the strategic planning task forces and by meetings and focus groups with faculty, staff, and students.  We have a campus plan website and a blog site hosted by our outside consultants, Urban Strategies, where we have been encouraging people to submit comments.  We have had a number of conversations with municipal, regional, and state officials, and with other community stakeholders and neighborhood groups.  A survey (Campus Compass) was made available to the University community (including alumni) and local residents to learn more about how people use and experience the campus.  We have made presentations to the Council of the Princeton University Community (CPUC) and to alumni leaders, as well as at open meetings in Princeton and West Windsor, which provided opportunities for helpful feedback.

How can I provide input as you continue with the planning process?

Comments can be submitted through the campus plan website or the Urban Strategies blog.  There will be presentations this spring to the CPUC, the Alumni Council Executive Committee, and at open community meetings in Princeton and West Windsor. 


Will athletics facilities be moving across the lake?

Given the large amount of land that athletics requires, and that this next campus plan will be looking out 30 years and beyond, we do expect that we will be developing athletics facilities on an expanded campus south of the lake.  We are working with the Department of Athletics on an athletics facilities plan, and it is our hope that athletics facilities that are developed on the campus south of the lake will benefit from enhancements that would be difficult to achieve on campus lands north of the lake.  It is our expectation that as our campus expands across the lake, athletics facilities will be integrated with a variety of other activities and facilities in that part of the campus.  There will continue to be a substantial number of athletics facilities that remain on the north side of the lake.

If so, which ones will be moved?  And when?

No decisions have been made about which ones will be moved or when.  The proposed location for the new residential college would require the relocation of facilities to support softball and outdoor tennis.  But, again, no decisions have been made.

Residential Colleges

Are you planning for two residential colleges? 

For now we are planning for only one new residential college.  While the strategic planning framework proposes only one new residential college to accommodate an additional 125 undergraduates per class, or a total of 500 more undergraduates, it also says there is an “expectation that over time it is likely that there will be an additional increase in the number of undergraduates and housing to accommodate them.”  The framework says that keeping this longer-term perspective in mind “will enable the University to plan more strategically for both the near-term and the later expansion, including with regard to the location of … residential colleges” and “it will allow the University more flexibility to improve existing residential facilities while it adds new ones.”  The University currently has no “swing” space, which makes it difficult to renovate or improve existing facilities.

Why did you pick this location?

This location has several virtues.  It is close to several of the existing residential colleges, including Whitman, Butler, and Wilson.  It is adjacent to recreational open space.  And while it does require the relocation of facilities for outdoor tennis and softball, it does not require the relocation of other facilities, and it is not a site that would likely be developed for other purposes over the longer term. 

When will the University build the next residential college?  When will we be able to add 500 students?

If we were able to move forward with a residential college right now, it would take about five years to build and open.  But before we can move forward we need to make a final decision about the location, engage an architect, and meet our fundraising target for the project. Once we begin adding new students, we would add 125 students per incoming class, and it would take four years to complete the expansion. 

School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) / Environmental Studies

What parts of SEAS will be replaced or moved?  Will there be new space, as well as renovated or relocated space?

The campus plan team, SEAS, and specialty consultants on engineering facilities have been evaluating the current and projected space needs for the various components of the engineering school, as well as opportunities for proximity to and shared space with departments in other academic divisions (e.g., environmental studies).  Based on that analysis, a number of options are being considered for renovating existing space and building new space. 

When will SEAS be relocated?  Will they have to move more than once?

As noted in the previous answer, we have not decided yet which areas of SEAS will be relocated or where, and we don’t know the timing of when new space will be available.  That timing depends not only on further campus planning work, but also on the need to raise funds for this purpose.

Where will Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI), Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB), and Geosciences be located within the zone identified? 

This has not been determined yet.  We are continuing to assess both needs and options.

What will happen in Guyot?

If it is decided that PEI, EEB, and Geosciences should be located in the proposed area, then decisions will have to be made about how best to use the spaces they vacate in their current locations.

Other Academic

What are the plans for the innovation ecosystem?

Building on the report of the Princeton Entrepreneurship Advisory Committee (PEAC), the efforts of the Keller Center and its successful eLab space, as well as the planned Princeton Innovation Center (wet labs) at Forrestal, the campus plan will identify possible locations for other facilities that may be needed to support and strengthen the innovation ecosystem.


Will the campus plan add housing for graduate students?

We expect the Graduate School will grow during the time period covered by the campus plan, and the plan is considering possible sites for additional graduate student housing. 

If so, where?

We have not fully addressed this question, but we have indicated that the Butler tract and lands south of the lake are potential additional sites for graduate student housing.

Will the campus plan add housing suitable for postdoctoral researchers?

We are looking at possible locations for housing that would be available to our postdoctoral researchers, including potentially at the Butler tract and on the expanded campus south of the lake.

Bridge / West Windsor Development

How will the bridge be used?

The proposed bridge for pedestrians, cyclists, and light vehicles like golf carts would connect the campus north of Lake Carnegie to an expanded campus south of the lake.  While a precise location has not yet been determined, the bridge would be located between Washington Road and Harrison Street.  It would allow students, faculty, staff, and members of the public to cross the lake without having to use existing vehicular roadways.  A planning priority is to facilitate and encourage a safe and attractive walkable connection between campus north of the lake and campus south of the lake, while enhancing and improving opportunities for the public to appreciate such natural features of the area as the lake and the canal.  The bridge would be designed to respect and complement the historic setting and natural beauty of the lake and canal.

When will the campus expand across the lake into West Windsor?  What uses are proposed to be located there? 

The University’s West Windsor lands are being studied as an attractive expansion of our campus.  We are considering which activities may be well-suited for that location, as well as ways to enhance connections across the lake, including a bridge for pedestrians, bikes, and light vehicles.  The expectation is that a campus south of the lake in West Windsor would support the University’s mission of teaching and research, and could include activities related to the University’s academic programs, innovation initiatives, and administrative needs, along with athletic and recreational uses, housing of various kinds (including housing that would be available to graduate students and postdoctoral researchers), and parking.   

We expect that all undergraduate housing and academic classrooms would continue to be located north of the lake.