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History of Master Planning at Georgia State

In 1958 Georgia State undertook its first comprehensive facilities planning effort. The plan projected an enrollment increase from 10,000 to 20,000 students over 20 years, proposing land acquisition and facilities development.

A space projection study was undertaken in 1961 for an enrollment of 12,000 students. Between 1956 and 1966 the institution undertook various facility planning efforts. Among them was the “Georgia State College Comprehensive Master Plan”, which planned for an enrollment reaching 25,000.

In an exploration of possibly launching studies in urbanism, the Committee on Academic Growth issued a 1968 report focusing on the university’s rich urban setting. This report led to the addition of degree programs in that discipline, and subsequently the school gained university status.

In light of new downtown development, including mass transit (MARTA), the university produced a 1977 in-house study projecting campus development through the year 2000.

MARTA opened its first rail line in 1979, operating between Avondale and Georgia State Station.
Officials initiated the next master planning effort, 1987, in response to the requirements of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. These goals were set:

  • • A recommitment to urban and international focus
  • • A recommitment to research in all academic units
  • • A development of satellite campuses

In 1994 and with the help of the College of Architecture at Georgia Tech, Georgia State produced a series of Campus Master Planning Principles. These principles became the foundation for the development of the 1997 Master Plan.

Four principles guided this plan:

1. Integrate institutional buildings and their uses with the city environment.
2. Use existing and planned structures to help define and connect the institution’s spaces.
3. Use housing opportunities to attract the population necessary to create a viable community.
4. Support transportation patterns that encourage pedestrian traffic and enhance the safety and convenience of Georgia State students, faculty, and staff.

Building on the 1994 effort, the university undertook a comprehensive planning study culminating in the 1997 Master Plan. The 1997 plan envisioned a campus integrated with the City of Atlanta and built around Decatur Street as the heart of campus. The plan, which became known as the “Main Street Master Plan,” set forth a series of clear goals and principles. The university has been extremely successful in implementing the plan as a number of identified projects have either been completed or are in progress. These projects include: The Student Recreation Center, the Helen M. Aderhold Learning Center, the Humanities Building, The University Science Park, and the Piedmont / Decatur Streetscape Improvements.