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Overview of Campus Master Plan

A campus master plan is a physical manifestation of a university's strategic plan. At its best, it is a road map for the future of a campus, and becomes a crucial tool in confirming that short-term projects are working in conjunction with long-term plans and goals. Without it, each decision made about a campus' facilities -- from new buildings to renovations to infrastructure improvements -- is made in isolation, without a bigger vision in mind. And a good campus plan builds in flexibility, so that it can accommodate shifting academic priorities and economic conditions.

To read more about Lehigh's ambitious 2012 Campus Master Plan, please view the Campus Master Plan Summary (PDF, 7.4 MB)

View the full Campus Master Plan (PDF, 13.5 MB)*


The work plan is divided into six phases:

  • Information gathering
  • Programming
  • Conditions assessment
  • Concept options
  • Development of preferred option
  • Final campus plan

For more information about each of the phases, view the work plan (PDF) >


1. Plan for Renovations and New Construction
In order to support the implementation of the Strategic Plan, it is imperative that the necessary facilities and infrastructure central to that mission are in place. We need to analyze existing space and identify deficiencies and opportunities. While our preference is to renovate existing buildings rather than build new, identifying where new construction is necessary and where it could be sited also needs to be part of this analysis.

2. A Comprehensive Campus Space Analysis
Working with university staff and our inventory of campus space assignments the consultant will provide an assessment that determines whether the space currently assigned fits the current need. This information in and of itself may suggest solutions to existing space needs. On the other hand, the inventory may bring to light additional space needs that are not now evident. Although we are not yet able to present an exhaustive list of space requirements, many needs have been obvious and in evidence for a long time. The Strategic Plan and our present Campus Space and Capital Needs List will act as a foundation on which to build comprehensive new analyses. The consultant will also identify space-related benchmarks and compare our space usage with like institutions across academic disciplines and administrative and student support areas.

3. A Student Housing Analysis
Lehigh provides on-campus housing for approximately 3,330 undergraduates in residence halls, fraternities and sororities. Roughly 1400 undergraduates reside in private rental units in the adjacent community. We house only a small proportion of our graduate and married students in on-campus housing, both in a remotely located complex containing 137 apartments of varying size and a small house adjacent to campus for 13 students. It is assumed that additional graduate housing must be provided, either on campus or in the community, or both. Further analysis of if additional on-campus undergraduate housing is called for will be important.

4. A Strategy for Partnering in the Renaissance of the Local Community
Lehigh is located in the South Side neighborhood of the City of Bethlehem and its future success is inextricably tied to that of the local community and the region. Universities serve as anchor institutions for cities, and the strategic role that Lehigh can play in bringing about positive change is significant. We aspire to create additional visible collaborations between the university and the community. The community around Lehigh can enrich the experience of our students, faculty and staff through service, learning, research, innovation, and entrepreneurship. We believe the university can likewise enrich the community. The partnerships between the university, its alumni, and the community can enhance the learning and development of students, provide research opportunities, and provide support and expertise that renews part of the community. Building such partnerships is essential to sustainable change.

5. A Strategy for Land Utilization
Lehigh's campus consists of 1600 acres, including significant areas that are undeveloped and underdevelopable. A comprehensive land use analysis needs to be performed in order to identify parcels for future university development, and also property that should be acquired in order to facilitate implementation of the Strategic Plan.

6. A Strategy for the Mountaintop Campus
The Mountaintop Campus was acquired from the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in 1986. Its 742 acres are mostly undeveloped but the centerpiece of the land is a 72-acre developed site that was once BSC's research center and now houses the College of Education and a number of academic departments and programs as well as Ben Franklin TechVentures. Two, large high-bay buildings that are not owned by the university occupy a central site on the campus and could have strategic value and offer exciting possibilities for the transformation of this campus if they were acquired. The Mountaintop Campus still feels like a corporate park, and we would like to study options in the context of the Strategic Plan that would make it a compelling destination and integrate it more seamlessly into the university's overall academic environment.

7. A Plan for Pedestrian/Vehicular Circulation and Parking
Much progress has been made in the last decade with respect to transforming the center of the historic campus from an area that was congested with vehicular traffic and parking to a very attractive park-like setting that has greatly increased the university's sense of place and community. We would like to build on this success by exploring additional opportunities to enhance the campus environment through further pedestrian and parking strategies.

8. A Plan for Campus Transportation
The University currently has two shuttle bus systems that provide basic service connecting its three campuses and some connection to nearby student housing. We would like an analysis done on the existing system as well as recommendations for improvements and enhancements that will better serve the needs of the university community.

9. Determination of Sustainable Campus Design Standards
While the University was just recently completed its first new construction project that is eligible for LEED certification, we do not have a comprehensive inventory of sustainable design standards. A plan delineating standards for materials, components, and equipment relating both to building construction, operations and landscape needs to be developed.

Request for Proposal
View Request for Proposal (PDF) >

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