- Overview And Planning Process
- Student Enrollment And Employee Population
- Development Plan And Campus Character
- On-Campus Life And Student Housing
- Off-Campus Life And Neighborhood Quality Of Life Efforts
I. Overview And Planning Process
- The AU 2021 Campus Plan sets forth a thoughtful approach to managing campus growth and development over the next ten years in a manner that reflects the university’s commitment to the communities of which it is a part.
- Over the past two years, AU has worked closely with the AU Neighborhood Partnership and a wide range of university and community stakeholders to gather input and feedback on the key priorities that are addressed in the 2021 Campus Plan. As a result of this dedicated and collaborative effort, the university and the AU Neighborhood Partnership have reached consensus on the objectives, proposals, and commitments set forth the in the 2021 Campus Plan, and both ANC3D and ANC3E support its approval.
- This collaborative planning process included more than 50 partnership meetings; regular quarterly and special Campus-Plan focused meetings of the CLC; Planning 101 sessions that engaged the entire campus community and neighbors on various facets of planning; ANC3D and 3E meetings; and numerous discussions with internal stakeholders and community organizations.
- The AU Campus Plan website provided access to wide range of useful resources, including meeting summaries and presentations; preliminary planning frameworks and drafts; and a comprehensive community input portal which has facilitated feedback and to date includes responses to more than 145 questions posed by community members.
- AU’s work on the 2021 Campus Plan and collaboration with members of the community actively continued through the transitions in university operations brought about by COVID-19, as engagement effectively continued on a variety of digital meeting and information-sharing platforms.
II. Student Enrollment And Employee Population
- A wide range of factors drive the continually changing dynamics of enrollment management in 21st century higher education. Accordingly, AU’s outlook for the next 10 years is premised on the need to maintain flexibility with respect to the types of students AU attracts – and how and where they are educated – to remain competitive and thrive as a vibrant educational institution.
- To appropriately balance this need for flexibility, AU has taken an approach to student enrollment that is focused around managing impacts rather than attempting to project specific enrollment figures for defined programs.
- The 2021 Campus Plan calls for strategic and measured enrollment growth within the student cap established in 2011 when adjusted to reflect the revised student count methodology set forth in the city’s updated zoning regulations.
- In direct response to community input received during the planning process, AU reduced the enrollment cap from its original proposal (from 14,499 to 14,380 students).
- AU has expanded its commitments to actively address and effectively minimize adverse impacts associated with AU students on the neighborhoods surrounding campus, including maintaining the 67% undergraduate student housing requirement established in the 2011 Campus Plan and strengthening policies and procedures regarding off-campus student activities.
- AU’s proposed 3,350 employee cap for the 2021 Campus Plan reflects no change from the employee cap established in the 2011 Campus Plan, when adjusted to count employees who work at the additional properties included in the 2021 Campus Plan pursuant to the 2016 Zoning Regulations.
III. Development Plan And Campus Character
- The 2021 Campus Plan sets forth a balanced development program of residential/campus life, academic/administrative, and athletic uses aimed at strengthening and invigorating a student-centered living and learning campus experience and reinforcing the existing built environment and unique campus scale of AU while actively advancing the university’s culture of sustainability.
- The 15 development sites included in the Campus Plan have been identified, informed, and shaped by extensive community input and feedback on proposed building height, size, location, use, and appropriate setbacks.
- The Plan emphasizes existing and introduces new landscape and open space features to ensure that members of the AU and surrounding community can enjoy the unique campus opportunities for outdoor recreation and social interaction as well as study and peaceful reflection within an otherwise urban setting.
- AU is a proud leader in sustainability, both locally and nationally – in fact, two years ahead of its ambitious target date, AU became the first university to achieve carbon neutrality. The Campus Plan supports AU’s ongoing commitment to sustainability, through design, construction, and operation of green buildings; environmentally conscious grounds management practices; use of solar and other alternative sources of power; and actively working with community partners to offer sustainable transportation options.
- Campus facilities will continue to support a wide range of community-serving opportunities including access to Bender Library and various campus recreational facilities; creative activities and summer camps at the Katzen Center; and educational programming associated with AU’s award- winning campus arboretum.
IV. On-Campus Life And Student Housing
- The Campus Plan includes a strong and purposeful emphasis on campus life and student housing, focusing on efforts to provide attractive and functional spaces that encourage students to spend more time on campus during their years at AU. This approach is not only aimed at enhancing the living and learning experience of AU students but also will benefit a wide range of stakeholders, including residents of the surrounding community.
- The Plan calls for reinvigorating Mary Graydon Center as a campus hub for a myriad of student-focused activities and repurposing existing and developing new space to accommodate integrated student health and wellness programs, particularly those focused on supporting students’ mental health.
- The Plan proposes additional space and facilities to support a range of athletics and recreational activities, including the new Center for Athletic Performance (CAP), which would provide training and support areas for AU athletics as well as varsity, club, and intramural competition venues.
- The Campus Plan also calls for re-turfing of Reeves Field and the park at 45th Street and Massachusetts Avenue NW.
- Student housing continues to be an important focus in the 2021 Campus Plan. AU will prioritize renovations to existing housing inventory and has also proposed new student housing facilities that will provide unit configurations and amenities that respond to student preferences. In addition, AU will support the creation of learning communities, affinity housing, and other community-oriented housing opportunities to encourage more upperclass students to live on campus beyond their freshman year.
- The prioritization of proposed new housing facilities has been directly informed by input from neighborhood stakeholders to ensure that impacts associated with student housing are appropriately addressed and effectively mitigated.
- AU will continue to maintain a supply of housing for 67 percent of the full-time undergraduate student population, retaining the standard established in the 2011 Campus Plan and ensuring that sufficient housing capacity is available to support the undergraduate student population.
V. Off-Campus Life And Neighborhood Quality Of Life Efforts
- Understanding that many students live off campus at some point during their time at AU, the university has and will continue to work closely with its neighborhood partners to develop and implement robust engagement with students that choose to live off-campus to equip them to be responsible members of the community and promote positive relationships between students and their neighbors.
- The Campus Plan details numerous policy and programming enhancements developed in consultation with the AU Neighborhood Partnership Student Life and Safety Working Group, and confirms that members or the Student Life and Safety Working Group will continue to play an important role in ensuring the efficacy of these programs in supporting the quality of life for residents in the neighborhoods surrounding campus over the term of the Plan.
- AU will continue to partner with members of the community to support local neighborhood-based efforts, including working with Tenleytown Main Street; supporting beautification efforts at local parks; sponsoring and participating in community events; and working with teachers in students in neighborhood schools.
- The 2021 Campus Plan emphasizes AU’s ongoing commitment to effective Transportation Demand Management (TDM) strategies aimed at promoting alternative transportation options that reduce the use of single-occupancy vehicles and the demand for on-campus parking, and will maintain vigilant enforcement of AU’s existing off-campus parking policies to preserve on-street parking capacity for members of the community.
- AU’s approach to the parking requirement for the Campus Plan – a proposed parking inventory ceiling of 3,000 spaces – aligns with the university’s objectives to ensure that AU provides an adequate parking supply from its inventory across all Campus Plan properties to meet the needs of the current population and any potential growth over the term of the Plan, and to also provide parking capacity for special events to mitigate any potential adverse impacts on on-street parking supply throughout neighborhood streets surrounding campus.
- A range of comprehensive TDM planning tools – including AU’s robust shuttle service program that connects Main Campus, East Campus, the Spring Valley Building, and the Tenley Campus with the AU/Tenleytown MetroRail station (ridership for the AU shuttle program exceeded 1.2 million in calendar year 2018), and the AU/WMATA U*Pass Program, which allows for unlimited student rides on all MetroRail and MetroBus routes throughout the region (between July 2018 and June 2019, AU students logged 1,415,087 system rides through the U*Pass Program) – will remain a priority for the university over the term of the 2021 Campus Plan.
- AU will maintain the Good Neighbor Parking Policy which effectively deters AU-related parking on neighborhood streets through vigilant enforcement efforts.
- Based on feedback from members of the community received throughout the planning process, AU has clarified and confirmed its position in support of advancing recommendations contained within DDOT studies for bicycle and multi-use facilities adjacent to American University, and will also actively work with DDOT to explore locations and alternatives for TNC pick-up/drop-off solutions to mitigate the adverse impacts associated with pick-up and drop-offs on Nebraska and Massachusetts Avenues adjacent to AU campus locations.
- AU will continue to work directly with DDOT and members of the community, and specifically the Transportation and Parking Working Group, to evaluate performance metrics to ensure that the transportation-related impacts of any future growth and development over the term of the Campus Plan are effectively managed and, to the extent necessary, appropriately mitigated.