There are several components to the evolution of an academic campus. The first is the overarching goal of the academic mission. Another is the profound impact of student enrollment. Because Gallaudet is an academic institution for the deaf, enrollment generally fluctuates with levels in the deaf population. In addition, changes in academic methodology, academic programs, and desired level of services also contribute to the evolution of a campus. Gallaudet has not recently undergone radical change in the areas of mission and enrollment, but is currently in a period of improvements that will reinforce its visual image, invigorate its campus core, and optimize campus facilities. The 2002-2012 Facilities Master Plan includes the following design initiatives:
Strengthen campus identity by:
- Further development of the academic zone on the central green
- Improving visual links and relationship to the historic campus
- Providing a new security booth and vehicular waiting space to prevent traffic congestion at the Florida Avenue entrance
Improve pedestrian connections across the entire campus and to the city. These connections can be achieved by:
- Demolishing Hanson Plaza to remove pedestrian impediments and develop a "Gallaudet Walk" that builds upon and strengthens campus identity
- Making campus edge improvements at 6th Street and Florida Avenue
- Reconfiguration of visitor/staff parking at College Hall
- Reconfigure existing vehicular Lincoln Circle North Rd. as pedestrian-only with vehicular loop road extending north to Switzer Drive
Restore and improve open and green space on campus. Projects include:
- Demolition of Merrill Learning Center
- Improvement of greenscape adjacent to student dormitories
The recommendations proposed include several projects that are campus/neighborhood edge improvements. The Appleby Building/6th street and Florida ave edge improvements will improve the street edge. The pedestrian gate and security booth projects improve access to the campus from the NY Avenue Metro station that is currently under construction and also seeks to reduce the potential for traffic back-ups on Florida Avenue.
Proposed building renovations to the campus include accessibility improvements to Dawes, renovations and accessibility improvements to Fowler and funding expected for a study of the renovation of Kendall Hall. The Alumni House and the lobby at Elstad Theater will undergo building renovations as funding sources are identified. The renovation and development of a new entry for the Dining Hall will respond to the need for more updated finishes and a focal point along the proposed "Gallaudet Walk" site and landscape improvements.
Overall these initiatives will:
- Demolish approximately 360,000 sq. ft. and build 540,000 sq. ft. of new University construction
- Of that work, approximately 160,000 sq. ft. of demolition and 130,000 sq. ft. of new construction is to meet the need for apartment style dormitories
- Renovate and provide accessibility improvements to several University buildings
- Increase green and open space.