Christopher Newport University, Comprehensive Master Plan

Newport News, Virginia

Christopher Newport University (CNU)’s challenge was to transform a commuter college into a residential university—the “premier public liberal-arts college” that its president envisioned. The master plan changed the university’s facilities design in response to its new academic direction.

The first critical issue was to create an identity. The university, hidden ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONFEATURED IN2003 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYCampus Master Planning street-front dilapidated buildings, purchased and removed them. This created a green front yard that established a public street frontage, visually reconnecting CNU to Newport News and the community at large.

The master plan’s redesign of CNU’s academic core and the addition of four student residence halls continued the transformation. The new residence halls portray a more traditional campus, reflecting academic excellence and a community of honor. At the center of the university’s new academic core is the Great Lawn, where students gather to relax, study and attend special events.

By creating a new identity through its academic program and facilities master plan, Christopher Newport University has doubled the size of its freshman class since 1995, increased the number of students living on campus, and enrolled freshmen whose SAT scores are 200 points higher on average.

“We have quickly created a campus of take-your-breath-away beauty that is enriched by the energy, enthusiasm and intellect of our students and faculty,” says Paul Trible, the university’s president.

Area: 126 acres