reporter contentsalbright college

A Plan for Transformation

A new comprehensive, multi-phase Master Plan creates a vision and direction for Albright’s spaces and facilities as a residential learning community. The plan includes much needed new facilities to accommodate the College’s earlier 25 percent growth in undergraduate enrollment and the dramatic growth of the Accelerated Degree Program.

The master planning process, under the direction of Spillman Farmer Architects, lasted almost a year and addressed academic, administrative and student facilities needs, evaluated College properties, considering parking and traffic circulation, and aesthetic standards for the campus, buildings and grounds. The project was funded by a gift from Trustee Darryl Shoff.

“The Master Plan provides a necessary road map to address our many facilities needs,” said President Lex McMillan. “We are tremendously excited by the creative thinking that Spillman Farmer Architects and Derck & Edson Associates, landscape architects, have shown. It is helping us to think in a new way about what needs to be done now and in the future, and to begin to create priorities for these critical projects. Of course, all of these projects are dependent on funding.”


The four major priorities of the College’s strategic plan provided the framework for the Master Plan: fostering academic excellence; strengthening our residential learning community; enhancing community relations; and achieving financial stability. Spillman Farmer conducted interviews and surveyed numerous constituencies to gather data about perceptions, needs and wishes. The plan and proposed priorities were presented to the campus community for feedback during the summer and fall, and approved by the Board of Trustees in October.

“The Master Planning process at Albright was very interactive and I was pleased to see the entire campus community’s involvement!” said James G. Whildin Jr. AIA, of Spillman Farmer. “We heard so many wonderful, thoughtful ideas about the best parts of the Albright campus – the spots that define the Albright experience and should not be changed – and much that could be enhanced in the future. Dreamers and pragmatists seemed to unite on ideas that would create a more cohesive, more welcoming campus in a way that is imaginative and yet achievable. I applaud Albright for holding on to that which is good and envisioning a future that benefits so many.”

The plan is divided into priorities and phases to be accomplished over time and as funding becomes available. Projects include redefining campus spaces and their use to improve academics and student services, improving the appearance of the campus and access to Albright, renovating existing facilities and constructing new ones, including residence halls. A few highlights of the plan included in Phase I are:

  • Converting the Rockland Professional Center (RPC) into a new academic center that would house the Economics and Business, Accounting, and Education Departments, and the Accelerated Degree and Graduate Programs. The RPC is a 30,000-square-foot office building at 13th and Rockland Streets owned by a for-profit subsidiary created by the College when it developed the building in 1988.

  • Building a new student residence hall and renovating existing housing so more students will be able to live on campus

  • Creating a continuous pedestrian walkway, “Founders Walk,” across campus from Albright Woods to Union Street to connect Albright’s long, narrow campus

  • Reconfiguring main arrival points and traffic flow. The intersection at 13th and Bern would be reconfigured to make it clearly the main arrival point at the center of campus. North 13th Street, which has become increasingly hazardous and is seen as a thoroughfare, would have center islands of plantings to slow traffic and signal arrival on campus

  • Improving safety by reconfiguring the intersection at Bern Street, Linden Street and College Avenue and a portion of Bern Street under the LifeSports Center

  • Improving student services with a new Student Services Center housing Financial Aid, the Registrar and Student Accounts in Selwyn Hall, and an Academic Learning Center/Writing Center in the Library with a reconfigured Media/IT Department

  • Renovating and expanding the Campus Center with a new dining hall and kitchen, convenience store, student organization space, enhanced game room, international and commuter student lounges to form the welcome entrance at the center of campus

  • Building a track and field facility

  • Acquiring strategic adjacent properties critical to the College’s future growth

  • Renovating White Chapel and connecting it to Alumni Memorial Hall as a College meeting center and offices for the president and provost, thereby allowing for much needed expansion of the library and adequate space for academic support services

Board chair John T. Baily ’65 noted that, “Board discussions on the drafts of the master plan were among the most spirited ever. Melding the current campus footprint with the Albright strategic plan proved both challenging and invigorating. While not cast in concrete, the resulting plan will be a yardstick against which to measure future projects and will also provide a blueprint for potential donors looking for ways to contribute to Albright’s future.”

As envisioned, the first phase would cost approximately $35 million. Later phases of the plan call for two additional residence halls, an expanded and renovated Campus Center, new playing fields, extensive renovations of existing buildings, a new Masters Hall, and purchase of additional strategic properties. The total plan would cost about $170 million to realize.


A new Founders Walk would connect the entire campus, beginning on the north end at Albright Woods.
This sketch view shows the walk in front on North Hall, with new landscaping and seating on the hillside,
and a potential new residence hall in the upper right.

reporter contentsalbright college