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December 8, 2021

Case Study: Madison College


The role of master planning is vital to the long-term health of an organization. A campus (or site) master plan establishes overall goals, objectives, and design principles that will guide future physical development. It provides long-term planning for architecture, land use, space use, landscape, transportation, parking, and utilities.

However, it is not enough to define what a master plan is—the goal is just as important. The underlining philosophy of master planning is that it must be a usable and implementable roadmap for the future. A master plan cannot be put into use if it is not fundamentally achievable.

Aerial View of Buildings in Masterplan


An example of a truly successful master plan was when Strang led Madison Area Technical College to develop a comprehensive 10-year facilities master plan. This planning effort focused on the four key elements of facilities assessment, space needs analysis, physical planning, and capital planning. Together, we were able to create a consistent brand and experience for each of Madison College’s seven unique campuses and most importantly—we were able to successfully implement these plans.

A testament to our success lies in the fact that a significant number of buildings defined in our master plan document (the Student Success Center, Campus Center, Allied Health & Wellness Education Center, Ingenuity Center Transportation & Advanced Manufacturing Center, and Fire & Protective Services) were actually built in a $133 million referendum that was wholeheartedly supported by voters from the community. As a result, the campus today has been transformed from an aging facility to a state-of-the-art campus for the 21st century. It now offers a vibrant sense of place and student life that is consistent with the vision outlined in the master plan.

Ingenuity Center Transportation & Advanced Manufacturing Center


These planning efforts helped change the perspective of Madison College as a commuter school to that of a distinctive technical school and an institution of higher learning. An internal main street with “storefronts” for student services was created to help shape this experience. New buildings also provided the flagship Truax campus with a sense of place by defining a central landscaped and hardscaped gathering space. Additionally, the Student Success Center created a new front door for the campus, with a welcoming atrium. All of these master plan efforts have positively impacted campus student life with additional active indoor and outdoor spaces.

Overall, careful listening to stakeholders resulted in design guidelines that defined the character of the campus as both forward-looking and timeless. At the core of every single design aspect lies the unwavering commitment to student success.

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