Augustana’s campus of the future: Bridging living, learning and community

May 29, 2019

This paid piece is sponsored by Augustana University.

Envisioning a campus for the future is the task for a group working on part of Augustana University’s 2030 plan. And while the task has just started, one thing already is clear: Augustana will look considerably different by the end of the next decade.

“Updating and evolving the campus is key to student recruitment and engagement,” said Shannan Nelson, Augustana’s chief financial officer.

“Our goal is to reach 3,000 students and be among the most competitive universities in our peer group, and to achieve that, we need to strengthen both our physical infrastructure as well as our digital capabilities.”

At 100 acres and 1 million square feet of building space, Augustana’s central Sioux Falls campus is being assessed by a committee co-chaired by Nelson and Deanna Versteeg, vice president of human resources.

The team is looking at what new construction might be needed, which facilities need updating and how the campus IT infrastructure needs to be enhanced to address digital learning needs.

“Historically, our capital plan for facilities has mainly focused on academics, parking and housing, but this time we’ll also include athletics in addition to traditional master planning elements,” Nelson said.

A facilities master plan being developed by the group will address a broad range of elements, including:

  • Land use.
  • Space utilization.
  • Classroom utilization.
  • Facilities and infrastructure.
  • Sustainability guidelines and energy management.
  • Landscape master plan.
  • Architectural design guidelines.
  • Historic preservation and heritage plan.
  • Campus access and parking.
  • Accessibility and safety.
  • Proposed capital improvement projects.

The goal is to create a campus that provides the right environment for student learning and enhances engagement, both for students through activities and athletics as well as the community, by creating a place where the public wants to come to events, be involved on campus and partner.

“It’s also a recruiting tool for employees,” Versteeg said. “We continue to be a premier employer in Sioux Falls, and we want to be even more competitive nationally when we’re recruiting faculty.”

One priority is addressing student housing, Nelson said.

“We are going to look at the needs of current and future students when addressing changes to our residence halls,” he said. “We’re also evaluating ideas to incorporate classrooms or labs into new or renovated residence halls to bring in living and learning environments.”

The committee also is addressing Morrison Commons, with plans to modernize the student union with more dining options and space for student organizations.

“And we’re mindful of past conversations about the need for an enhanced wellness center to address the needs both of students and our recreational services,” Nelson said.

“There have been many discussions, for instance, about property we own at 33rd and Grange, and that definitely will be addressed in our upcoming master plan. We’re looking at how to maximize that opportunity with student services and community partnerships.”

Throughout its work, the committee is mindful of incorporating sustainable building elements, reflecting one of Augustana’s values and its commitment to environmental stewardship.

“Connectivity is key too,” Nelson said. “So we’re assessing what tools we will need to teach students from a technology standpoint and what IT infrastructure we will need on campus so students and faculty can be as connected as possible.”

The Augustana team working on the campus plan is finalizing the scope of its master plan this spring and plans to solicit bids for a consultant to work on the plan through the summer, with a targeted completion in early fall.

To follow the progress, visit and keep watching SiouxFalls.Business.

Augustana aims to reach 3,000 students, diversify through strategic scholarships

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Augustana’s campus of the future: Bridging living, learning and community

Envisioning a campus for the future is part of Augustana University’s 2030 plan. And one thing already is clear: Augustana will look considerably different by the end of the next decade.

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