Master planning update anticipates investment that will shape Emory’s future

Emory Report | Jan. 28, 2021

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In 1915, acclaimed architect Henry Hornbostel drafted Emory’s first master plan, establishing the foundation for strategic growth that continues today. 

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Emory will improve undergraduate and graduate experiences, invest in more interdisciplinary facilities to advance research and education, and develop a stronger connection with Atlanta through the university's new framework plan.

Through a series of updates provided this month to Emory’s University Senate, Faculty Council and Employee Council, Emory Master Planning is presenting early details for long-term investments across the Emory enterprise over the next 20-plus years. This framework plan differs from past plans in that it offers a long-term and holistic look at Emory’s needs and its new capital investments, while integrating the needs of both Emory University and Emory Healthcare.  

The framework plan is developed to support Emory's mission and strategic framework and follows data-driven decision making. The recommended projects follow several core principles, including a fully integrated enterprise-wide mindset, commitments to foster the best student experiences, advanced research partnerships and promotion of sound stewardship.

“All of the decisions in this framework plan were guided by these principles,” says Robin Morey, vice president and chief planning officer of Campus Services. “We are excited about this plan because it directly addresses the needs of our community, and we are looking forward to sharing additional information later this year through continued community engagement.”

In an effort to encourage a “24/7 campus” and improve student experiences, the plan envisions additional “live, work, learn” opportunities for all Emory students in Atlanta and on the Oxford campus. This includes the Graduate Student Housing Initiative, which will provide housing along Haygood Drive for graduate students to live within walking distance to campus. The goal is to foster a stronger and more vibrant community for Emory’s graduate and professional students.

The framework plan anticipates the needs of Emory Healthcare, such as long-term investment in research, innovation and clinical infrastructure at Executive Park, and the anticipated acquisition of the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta medical complex on Clifton Road following its relocation to I-85 and North Druid Hills Road.  

The framework also seeks to support the university’s strategic framework pillars of faculty excellence and an academic community of choice with investments in arts, research and innovation and is designed to provide a blueprint for today with flexibility for the future needs of the Emory community. Specifically, Emory is currently studying how space utilization may change as a result of lessons learned from the university’s response to the pandemic. 

Since the analysis began in 2018, the framework was developed with input from eight technical working groups and four advisory committees focused on faculty experiences, student experiences, staff experiences and research and innovation.

“The ideas and suggestions from our community went into the development of every aspect of this plan,” says David Payne, associate vice president of planning and engagement. “Over the past three years, we hosted more than 150 engagements sessions with students, faculty and staff and received more than 3,000 responses from a campus-wide survey. This invaluable feedback will enable the university to engage in long-term financial, capital and philanthropic planning in a way that is both data-driven and meaningful to our community.” 

Emory has a long tradition of planning its campus to meet strategic needs. Emory’s first master plan was drafted in 1915 by acclaimed architect Henry Hornbostel. By 1921, just six years later and after the 1918 flu pandemic, Emory University developed the early Druid Hills campus largely following Hornbostel’s plan. 

Emory plans to provide additional details this year by launching a new website with framework details and by hosting a virtual meeting in the fall to showcase next steps for investment.