Southern University Baton Rouge Master Plan

Southern University Baton Rouge Master Plan

Planning Southern University’s development over decades
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Southern University is one of the largest historically black colleges and universities in the United States, and it continually seeks to improve itself in order to better educate students. Manning Architects has partnered with the Southern University System over decades in its efforts to strategically drive growth and development for its main campus in Baton Rouge, the New Orleans campus, the agricultural campus, and the Shreveport campus.

For the Baton Rouge and Shreveport campuses, Manning Architects was commissioned to perform an existing conditions review and a space needs analysis to revise Southern University’s outdated 1985 plan in accordance with SACS accreditation criteria. The team surveyed and documented existing land use patterns, conditions of existing buildings, campus infrastructure, parking and circulation, and landscaping and grounds. The space needs analysis evaluated the size and use of each building on campus compared with projected academic offerings. The resulting master plan aligned current facilities with projected needs and recommended improvements to supply gaps. Based on the analysis, Manning developed a phased capital projects program of improvements with associated costs to steer development toward optimum usage and impact.

Some of Manning’s contributions on the Baton Rouge campus have facilitated academic buildings and agricultural facilities, expanded dormitory options, connected high school partnerships, developed athletic facilities, and generated comprehensive traffic circulation patterns and new riverfront boardwalks that improved the university experience. Further master plan updates have paired new organic food production practices with education and retail for a positive, forward-looking community interface. New types of on-campus living and hospitality have drawn more lifestyle activities to campus. Ecological research became hosted in classrooms and museums on campus to bring the world of knowledge into the world of commerce along the Mississippi River.