Topic: College of Architecture and Planning

April 5, 2010

On April 9, the people of Upland are invited to help shape their town's future.

A group of students from Ball State University's College of Architecture and Planning will help guide the effort through a program called a charrette, a process that should help local residents create a plan for future growth and community development.

The charrette will generate an envisioning guide that will address sustainability, the economy, wellness and quality of life issues. It also will examine how Upland interacts with its neighbors and how it can capitalize on its proximity to major crossroads such as Interstate 69 and Indiana highways 22 and 26, according to Harry Eggink, the architecture professor coordinating the event.

On April 8, the students will begin the process by conducting firsthand research, takin tours, talking with local leaders and historians, and meeting with the Upland Project Steering Committee, the group that initiated the effort.

The following day, the students will conduct the public portion of the charrette. From 9 a.m. to noon, they will transform the community room at Avis Industrial Corp. into a studio. Local residents are encouraged to attend and participate in focus groups covering government, infrastructure, K-12 education, Taylor University, financial institutions, downtown merchants, social clubs, youth and more.

The public also is invited to contribute ideas for the afternoon concept and design sessions. With the exception of a dinner break, the design process will continue until 10 p.m.

Community members are welcome to attend all or portions of the day's events, Eggink said.

"This is a great immersive learning experience for the students," he added. "They will meet with hundreds of residents, interpret their research and create a master plan that has the potential to bring the community's dreams to life. It's an education that truly cannot be duplicated in any classroom."

The steering committee is looking forward to seeing the final results, said Chip Jaggers, town councilman and executive director of university relations at Ball State.

"Our hope is that the process will reveal that Upland is one community with a collective vision," he said. "We have a beautiful town, and participation in this strategic plan will ensure that everyone has a voice in its future."

The final presentations are tentatively scheduled for late April or early May at Upland Elementary.