With a focus on students, safety and accessibility, Ozarks Technical Community College has just unveiled its new 20-year Comprehensive Facilities Master Plan for the Springfield campus.

The plan, announced Wednesday morning, projects enrollment growth for the Springfield location and includes additional instructional space, student life amenities and parking improvements.

“On April 3 of 2020, the college will commemorate its 30-year anniversary. We have come a long way during those three decades,” said OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon. “This gives our college leadership confidence that OTC is on firm footing, and we have a plan to carry us through the school’s Golden Anniversary.”

OTC worked with Dake|Wells and Perkins+Will to develop the master plan. Highlights include the following amenities:

  • A location for the Center for Advanced Manufacturing on the east side of the campus. The CAM will be connected to the Industry and Transportation Technology Center and the Information Commons West buildings.
  • Two parking garage structures to the north and west of campus and additional surface parking on the north side of campus.
  • A student life building to the south of Information Commons West, which will include a fitness center, bookstore, food service, study areas and space for student organizations.
  • A life sciences building north of Chestnut Expressway and west of Sherman Avenue for allied health and general science courses.

The focus on areas for non-instructional space, also referred to as student life space, stems from the average age of OTC’s students.

OTS says as late as 2014, the average age of an OTC student was 25. In the 2018-2019 school year, that number dropped to 20. Officials say this traditionally-aged student population desires more on-campus amenities, such as, expanded food options, fitness facilities and leisure space.

The additional parking structures and surface parking on the outer edges of the college’s property allow for the interior of campus to have a pedestrian focus.

Some interior roads that currently permit a free flow of vehicle traffic will, in the future, become pedestrian-only or limited-vehicle traffic thoroughfares.

A few years ago, when the City of Springfield vacated Central Street between Sherman Avenue and National Avenue, the college experienced a drop in vehicle traffic through campus.

OTC says that change greatly enhanced the safety of students and employees walking from the northernmost parking lots.

The master plan continues that focus on improving vehicle/pedestrian safety.

Officials with the college say the timing of construction for the buildings and parking lots on campus will depend on many factors, including, funding and needs of the community. However, plans for the Center for Advanced Manufacturing are progressing, and that facility is scheduled to be ready for the start of classes in August of 2022.