Master Plan

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Transforming Library Plaza

Figure 5.17 Existing Library Plaza Configuration

Figure 5.17 Existing Library Plaza Configuration

Figure 5.18 Plan View of Proposed Redevelopment of Library Plaza

Figure 5.18 Plan View of Proposed Redevelopment of Library Plaza

Figure 5.19 View of New Library Plaza from Collins Street

Figure 5.19 View of New Library Plaza from Collins Street

Image 5.8 Reconfigured Library Plaza

Image 5.8 Reconfigured Library Plaza

Figure 5.20 University Plaza Circulation

Figure 5.20 University Plaza Circulation

One of the most exciting ideas expressed in the plan is the transformation of Library Plaza into a new University Plaza. The plaza would warrant a new name and could become the first true Georgia State central gathering space. The notion of improving the existing plaza is not a new one and was highlighted in the 1997 plan. The 2005 update opens the door to further investigation of what that idea precisely means and how it could possibly take shape.

The above ground plaza between the Library, General Classroom Building, Sparks Hall, and Kell Hall would be demolished. The idea of a raised plaza emanated from 1960’s and 1970’s planning theory to create a respite from some of the unpleasant facts of urban life, such as heavy, dangerous traffic. (See Figure 5.17)

This approach has appropriately found its place in urban planning history as a mistake not to be repeated. Thanks to the strong leadership of Dr. Patton, Georgia State has long advocated a revitalized Atlanta urban core. The university is arguably a real catalyst in this regard and as the planning principle states, “Georgia State desires to be part of the city, not apart from it.”

The concept is to demolish the existing plaza in phases and create an on-grade space where connections to the urban fabric align with a unified campus vision. (See Figure 5.18) Along with at-grade connections from the Student Center to Hurt Park, these much-improved connections will make a major contribution to the university’s vision of a traditional campus experience. (See Image 5.8)

The Collins Street connection under Courtland Street currently presents a dark, unpleasant experience. Improving this connection is a component of the Library Plaza project. Removing the small parking garages and opening the plaza to the new Humanities building and new facilities on the Kell Hall site can transform the connection entirely. Pedestrians would be able to see under the Courtland Street viaduct directly into the new plaza from the Student Center plaza.

The design and implementation of this new plaza concept will be related to the Humanities, Library Transformation, and Kell Hall building projects. Lowering of the plaza will be financed as a minor capital improvement project. Renovations will also allow direct entry from the new plaza to the General Classroom, Arts and Humanities and Library buildings. (See Figure 5.20)

A more in-depth study to determine specific infrastructure issues and demolition costs is recommended. The planning team documented the general location of existing utilities and building entrances at ground level. The Library Transformation Project will address the access issue for the Library from the
new plaza.