Comprehensive Master Plan 2016

Athens Ohio Clock Tower

In March of 2016, Ohio University updated its comprehensive campus master planning. This effort exists to guide the university in translating its strategic goals and objectives into a physical plan that identifies where the university is focusing its resources to meet present and future demands on facilities. The Board of Trustees approved the Master Plan on March 11th, 2016.

Download the Comprehensive Master Plan 2016 - Updated March 9, 2016[PDF]

Comprehensive Master Plan 2016 is guided by the University Strategic Plan, the Four Fundamentals. It is a roadmap that provides a long-term vision balanced with what is achievable to guide day-to-day decisions for the next ten years of development on the campus. It is an update to the 2006 Campus Master Plan and reflects a comprehensive view for the campus. It integrates previous planning efforts such as the Housing Master Plan, current planning efforts such as the Utility Master Plan and Campus Wayfinding and provides framework for future project development.

The Comprehensive Master Plan characterizes defining elements of each green as it exists today, identifies key issues, outlines strategies for the future, and envisions key projects. Additionally, UP periodically reassesses individual campus green district plans as key assumptions and projects evolve. While each green is distinctive, it is essential that they remain interconnected with a system of pedestrian, bicycle, and transit connections that supports the overall campus layout of quads, courts, walks, and streets.

UP assists the growth of the greens through planning of renewal, refinement, and enhancement projects that strengthens their shared and unique components. Those shared components that best define the greens include a strong physical identity, a mix of active uses, and organization of facilities around a defined open space. Where a green may be lacking in a component area, UP assists development that re-envisions the green, strengthens its framework, while achieving the overall goal of creating a more cohesive and connected campus.


Our campus comprehensive master plan provides an integrated framework to guide the long-range physical development of Ohio University over a time frame spanning thirty to fifty years. Driven by academic priorities, the master plan provides a set of guidelines for decision making related to the locations of the university's research, teaching, and residential programs. It also provides a campus-wide perspective for developing Ohio University's capital plans to ensure fiscal responsibility. While the master plan provides the long-range guide for the campuses, implementation of everyday decision making begins first with appreciating Ohio University's strategic priorities:

  • Inspired Teaching & Research
  • Innovative Academic Programs
  • Exemplary Student Support Services
  • Integrative Co-curricular Activities

In addition to the University's strategic priorities, the planning principles that University Planning utilizes also guides the overall direction of campus development as well as helps define our values. Our planning principles are crafted to clearly communicate the intent of the comprehensive master plan.


  • A Distinctive Residential University Experience
    • Enhance OHIO's distinctive physical environment and strengthen connections to its natural setting, City of Athens and southeast Ohio, and 200 years of campus history.
  • Stewardship Of Assets
    • Support OHIO’s commitment to sustainability and Smart Growth by responsibly renewing, using and leveraging our existing built and natural resources
  • A Community Of Learners
    • Support a transformative living and learning environment including flexible, technology-enabled and collaborative spaces for teaching, research, outreach and innovation.
  • A Welcoming & User Friendly Campus
    • Make our campus engaging, accessible and safe to a diverse and inclusive campus community and visitors.
  • Support Future Evolution Of Campus Needs
    • Create flexible plans that will meet our future needs through integrating functions, supporting partnerships, smart utilization and agile implementation.


North Green Building Schoonover Center


North Green is a prominent gateway to campus, interfacing closely with the City of Athens. Its topography affords long and changing views, and it contains a variety of modern and historic architecture. The green has a dynamic mix of occupants that foster entrepreneurship, collaboration, and public interaction, including several performance venues and create programs that are an important face of the University. North Green also reinforces the University’s relationship with the City of Athens both physically and culturally. Key planning strategies for the green include refining and enhancing building and open space assets, including small houses that contribute positively to its character and scale of the green as well as enhanced pedestrian circulation and open spaces to create a welcoming and universally accessible environment for both students and visitors.


College green Planning building view framed by trees.


College Green, first surveyed in 1799, is the historic center of the University founded in 1804. Cutler Hall, a constructed in 1818, is a central focal point of the green, which is lined with historic small houses. The history of the green contributes to its timeless character, and it contains many various historic buildings that house a mix of administrative and academic uses. Renewal is the primary planning strategy for College Green, such as stewardship through continued investment and preservation of its critical components, including the small houses. To encourage the future vitality of College Green, another strategy is to enhance its student activity spaces, as the green is a focal point of pedestrian activity.


East Green Planning


East Green, completed in the 1950s, is the second green built after College Green. It is a cohesive and traditional residential housing community defined by its Georgian architecture, mature oak trees and neighborhood scale. East Green is bound by woodlands and the steep hillside to the west and the major pedestrian corridor on East Mulberry Street to the south. Planning strategies for East Green include preserving and extending its character to support living learning communities, maintain facility conditions, and promote sustainability. Specific recommendations include reinforcing existing gateways, protecting tree cover, improving physical and programmatic accessibility, and preserving open space. Edge conditions are recommended for enhancement in order to strengthen connections to adjacent greens.


South green planning


South Green, first constructed in the 1970s, offers on-campus living rich with recreation opportunities, with a stronger relationship between the campus and its natural setting than other greens. Easy access to amenities along the Sweep and the banks of the Hocking River make South Green a popular choice among students. Additionally, South Green is home to core academic buildings, with strong interfaces to several other greens and the Athens community. Planning strategies for the green include consolidation, renewal, and extension of open space to define a vibrant, compact and cohesive mixed-use district. The Sweep is envisioned as a continuous green, multi-modal corridor with dedicated pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure connecting campus destinations along the former rail bed. Planned demolition of the original dorms presents a major redevelopment opportunity to consolidate South Green, allowing for more recreation along the river.


an arial view of west green


West Green, originally constructed in 1966 for residential housing, has since evolved to accommodate a mix of uses. The green retains six residence halls, but is also home to the Heritage College of Medicine, the College of Engineering, and the College of Arts. West Green is a vibrant hub of academic and research activity, making it a prominent waypoint along a campus-wide research corridor. The green is notable for its well-defined open spaces that encourages a strong sense of community as well as for Oxbow Stream, the former Hocking River bed that defines the West Green’s northern edge. Planning strategies for West Green include repurposing buildings vacated by the Heritage College back into student housing, retaining a mix of academic and research uses, and better connecting the well-defined internal green space to the rest of campus with improved pedestrian and bicycle routes along the Oxbow Stream, which is envisioned to be restored with a diversity of native plant material.


Perspective wide lens shot of union street


On the west side of the University, Union Street Green’s administrative and facilities-related functions of make it distinctive and separate from the core of campus. Located in an historic industrial district of Athens in close proximity to the former rail line, several of its larger facilities were formerly associated with the railroad, while many other buildings are one story structures. Planning strategies include the phased relocation of the Heritage College of Medicine to the green, developing a campus gateway and mixed use opportunities along West Union Street, and renovating WUSOC to meet the College of Engineering’s research needs. With adjacencies to O’Bleness Hospital, synergies with the medical college are possible as well as improved access for the college’s public facing clinics. Connecting Union Street Green to the core of campus with the multi-modal corridor is essential to the success of the area.


Drone shot over athens showing separation by the river.


The East, West, and South River Greens are connected along the Hocking River and line the campus core’s southern edge. They contain athletic and recreational facilities including the golf course, Hockhocking Adena Bikeway, Convocation Center, Peden Stadium, and various sports fields. Planning strategies for these greens include preserving and enhancing the campus riverfront, with the River Greens envisioned as active and connected areas that engage both the river and the campus through a diversity of options, preserving open space along the river, and improving existing facilities. The River Greens provide many opportunities to further connect the campus to the community with bike and pedestrian paths, which will decrease congestion in the campus core.


The ridges green planning


The Ridges Green contains over 700,000 GSF of buildings on about 730 acres, 200 of which is occupied by the Land Lab and another 100 that is not suitable for development due to steep slopes. The Ridges Green plays an important ecological role for its expansive woodlands habitats, and it is a regional recreation destination with a network of hiking trails. The Kirkbride Complex offers an unmatched opportunity for a unique, dynamic and memorable mixed-use experience of the same caliber as the College Green. Retaining and celebrating the unique historic character of defining buildings within the Kirkbride Complex is critical to any future development and space planning strategies. The 2015 Ridges Framework Plan documents existing conditions and strategies to repurpose existing buildings and the surrounding property, strategies to determine architecturally compatible uses by considering programmatic factors, and strategies to enhance connectivity with the rest of campus.


The lead consultant for the campus master planning effort was the firm Ayers Saint Gross, Architects and Planners, of Washington D.C.