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Our Dream Campus

From the practical to the whimsical, we weigh in on the building projects we'd like to see.

Arts & Culture  |  May 1, 2018  |  By Jason Scavone

Let’s say a genie gives you three wishes, but stipulates that those wishes have to improve the UNLV campus in some way. (This genie has strong opinions about academics.) What would you want? A shiny new science lab with the latest in vials, spectrometers, and Hadron colliders? An auditorium with rich woods and fine leather seats for the most luxe in lectures? A hoverboard skate park? We asked some folks for their wishes. 


1. Coming

As executive director of planning and construction, Dave Frommer’s visions carry weight. His somewhere-on-the-horizon list includes more interdisciplinary research space, an expanded Special Collections and Archives in Lied Library, and an art gallery along the campus frontage. But closer to reality is the proposed Lee Business School building. Carpenter Sellers Del Gatto Architects, the firm behind Hospitality Hall, has completed renderings. Early plans call for siting it where Maude Frazier Hall once was on Maryland Parkway. That will make it “a kind of community-engaged building, with the business school being one of those programs [where] a lot of what they do is community partnerships,” Frommer said. 


 

2. Coming Maybe

Local urban planners at the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) are floating the possibility of a mass transit line connecting the Maryland Parkway campus with the Shadow Lane campus, now home to UNLV’s Medical and Dental schools in the heart of the city’s medical district. “They haven’t decided if it’s going to be rubber tire, bus rapid transit, or if it’s going to be fixed guideway, light rail,” Frommer said. “RTC is in the process of submitting the environmental analysis to the federal government. My understanding is if everything went perfectly, they project a start of operation in 2023. A lot of things have to happen to move forward, but they’re not guaranteed.”


3. Coming, We Hope

Architecture professor Glenn Nowack challenged his graduate-level research studio students to connect Las Vegas to other regional cities via Tesla’s emerging Hyperloop project. Students Jas Le, Samantha Anderson, Nahal Davoudi, and Christina Bahnan came up with a Hyperloop station that could link UNLV and UNR in a statewide academic tour de force. 

Using a central station near UNLV’s Downtown Design Center, a main line would run from downtown Reno to Las Vegas in just 40 minutes, perhaps bridging both the geographic and metaphoric gaps between them. “There’s always competition between the two cities. Not just in education, but in economics, politics, and everything else," Le said. "We thought this would develop Las Vegas as well as Reno, and Nevada in general.”

That downtown station would be so much more than a launch pad for the theoretical means of travel. Le and company’s kinetic structure would use hexagonal pods that swarm to areas of high demand, creating more platform space during morning commute hours or café space during the lunch rush. 


4. Coming? 

Eh, we'll need more wishes. These ideas from our unofficial campus poll will certainly put our genie to the test. 

Because studying is better poolside …

Campus pools came up again and again. Locations ranged from sensible options like an outdoor pool at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center to the more, let’s say, wishful, rooftop pools on every existing building. Alumni relations' Amy Bouchard wants one at the Richard Tam Alumni Center complete with "cabanas, thumping music, drinks with umbrellas, and a swim-up bar … so alumni can come home in style." 

Because “Daring” is part of UNLV’s tagline …

Another favorite might make our occupational safety folks a little nervous: “a team-building center with a ropes course, zip line, and rock wall” as envisioned by Heather Rappaport of UNLV's Student Union and Event Services.

Because the classics aren’t for everyone …

Kristin Bloomquist in the research integrity office has no love for the seven-story Flora Dungan Humanities building: “Repurpose FDH into whatever the opposite of FDH is — asbestos-free, functioning thermostats, inspiring color choices, bigger windows —modern, clean, pretty.”

Because there’s work to be done …

Cicely Morgan of the Center for Academic Enrichment and Outreach, wants an on-campus auto shop: “One that can do car repair/maintenance/general servicing while I am at work, that has a nice satellite work station so that I am not really losing time while I wait for an oil change or tire repair.”

Because our weather is almost always great …

Former Libraries Dean Patti Iannuzzi wants the parking lot between Lied Library and the Barrick Museum turned back into a paradise with a garden restaurant and outdoor misters and heaters.

And finally, a Hey Reb! patronus …

Our favorite suggestion came by way of Kevin McVay in student engagement and diversity: “UNLV should build its own personal Hogwart’s castle.” Perhaps then we’d then be able to conjure up the funds to build our dream campus.