North Campus encompasses Longwood’s historic core of iconic Georgian buildings that front High Street: French, Tabb, Ruffner, Grainger and Lancaster. The classical elegance of this section of campus represents Longwood’s academic and architectural soul; it is truly one of the great college spaces in all of America. The Master Plan aims to solidify the strength of this space, better connect it through walkways, and create a handsome pedestrian gateway to campus at the north end of campus.
“A good campus is characterized by fine architecture, iconic outdoor spaces, delightful landscaping, connectivity and a sense of place. Longwood has an historic framework of these components, and the new Master Plan refines and expands these qualities.” -Tom Frisbie-Fulton, university architect
West Gateway Under Evaluation
The five-way intersection of High, Oak, and Appomattox streets and Griffin Boulevard is currently an exasperating one for pedestrians and motorists, but it has the potential to be an iconic entrance to the campus neighborhood and to become a welcoming and defining space of a handsome and elegant college town.
The plan suggests working with the town of Farmville to develop two options, both of which would shift Griffin Boulevard slightly west, allowing for future expansion of Chichester Hall, home to Longwood’s science departments. A roundabout is the planners’ preferred option, which would make the intersection both more attractive and, most importantly, much safer. Research has shown that roundabouts are by a wide margin the safest type of intersection for both drivers and pedestrians. The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Commonwealth of Virginia both recommend roundabouts as preferred intersection options, and communities around the nation are rapidly switching to them, so drivers are increasingly accustomed to using them. Aesthetically, a roundabout would differentiate the intersection, making it a true introduction to campus. The second option calls for realigning the intersection to a more traditional crossing pattern. More information about roundabouts >
In January 2017, the Town of Farmville, jointly with Longwood, hired a traffic engineering firm to study the options for this intersection. In June 2017, the firm’s draft report recommended the roundabout option. The next steps are to finalize the report and prepare a funding grant application for the Virginia Department of Transportation. Longwood will continue to partner with the Town of Farmville to help reach the best possible solution for both the university and the community.
High Street Gateway Completed
At many universities, there’s an iconic spot on campus – a place so central and memorable it becomes an image in the mind’s eye for the campus as a whole. The rotunda at the University of Virginia is perhaps the most classic example.
The Master plan envisioned a similar spot at the intersection of Brock Commons and High Street. Longwood’s new gateway was constructed in summer 2016. The low brick wall with classic design elements forms a semi-circle, highlighting key buildings like Ruffner, reinforcing the traditional collegiate feel of North Campus and providing a magnificent pedestrian entryway.
“That intersection is an iconic spot at Longwood, but it is under-celebrated right now. One of the big ideas is to try to make something out of it that is a bit more recognizable and important. It wants to be the kind of place where mom and dad take the photograph with their freshman son or daughter and then again four years later in a cap and gown. The minute you see that space, you say ‘that’s Longwood.’”
-John Kirk, Cooper Robertson
Venable Triangle Development Proposed
Perhaps the highest aspiration of the Campus Master Plan is to create seams that better connect Longwood and Farmville, encouraging foot traffic in both directions and contributing to the vitality of downtown. The triangle formed by Venable, High and Main streets is key to this endeavor, and one of the central areas of focus. The plan calls for a rethinking of the space that now feels more like a barrier than a vibrant passageway.
The plan envisions a block that is alive, with people and commerce, but on a scale that respects and honors the historic churches in and adjacent to the triangle. The plan envisions some small-scale residence halls and potentially retail space. The idea is to carefully stitch this block into the fabric of surrounding area. It will serve as a connection between campus and downtown.
Lumber Yard Development Interim Renovation Completed
Facilities Management, the department that truly keeps the gears turning at Longwood, is currently hampered by space limitations on main campus. The Master Plan calls for Facilities Management to relocate their base of operations to the space that once housed the Lumber Yard, just behind Longwood Landings on Fourth Street. This move will revitalize a site that is currently underused and will free up space on central campus for other key projects. Design of the new Facilities Building commenced in January 2019.
In the interim, the Longwood University College of Education and Human Services developed a program to build and operate the Andy Taylor Early Childhood Development Center. In order for this program to start as soon as possible, the Longwood University Real Estate Foundation renovated the existing building as a temporary home for the Center, which serves children 2-4 years old. This building required only minimal changes to create four large classrooms, an art room, a play area, a multipurpose area, and an outdoor playground. Renovation was completed in August 2017 and the Center opened in fall 2017.
New Admissions Building Under Construction*
As part of work to create a sense of place that is uniquely Longwood, a welcome area for prospective students – the future Lancers who will take full advantage of our enhanced campus – will replace the Crafts House on Buffalo Street. The admissions staff has moved to temporary quarters in Lancaster Hall. Construction commenced in late May 2018, and is expected to be complete in fall 2019.. *This project is from the previous master plan.
“Prospective students who walk into the new admissions hall will feel like they are already a part of campus—from the design of the building to the stunning view of the Rotunda out our front windows. The building is scaled to match the grand houses once occupying the site, and its classical architecture will complement the neighboring homes and churches.” -Jennifer Green, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management & Student Success
New Academic Building Under Construction
Amidst great tumult in higher education, Longwood is proudly investing in the face-to-face academic experience of teaching and learning. Supporting that commitment, a new academic building will soon rise on North Campus behind French Hall, creating additional classroom and office space with up-to-date technology. Construction commenced in July 2018 and is expected to be complete in spring 2020.
Upchurch University Center Completed*
The Norman H. and Elsie Stossel Upchurch University Center is the vibrant hub of student life and activity at Longwood University — providing dynamic community space where students interact, learn, grow and thrive as citizen leaders.
Opened in fall 2018, the 84,000-square-foot center is a place for students to study, eat and socialize, and provides a welcoming, student-centered environment that encourages students to get to know and understand others. It houses student organizations, meeting rooms, lounge spaces, a gaming area, a food court, the Soza Ballroom event space and administrative offices.
The catalyst for the project was a $4 million gift in 2012 from Elsie Stossel Upchurch ’43. At that time, it was the largest single gift in the university’s history. While at Longwood, Mrs. Upchurch was an engaged member of the campus community as a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority, Pi Gamma Mu, Cotillion Club, Dramatic Club and the Y.W.C.A. She served as president of the Longwood University Alumni Association from 1957-59.
The Upchurch University Center fosters socialization, student engagement and leadership development, and complements Longwood’s academic experience through a diverse array of cultural, educational, social and recreational programs.
*This project is from the previous master plan.