The 1997 Trinity College Master Plan was the third master plan created in the college’s history, following the Burges Plan in 1874 and the Trowbridge Plan in 1923. The 1997 plan was created both to add onto these previous plans, and to address issues that had arisen from the period of unplanned expansion from the 1950’s to the 1990’s. Created as part of a Strategic Planning Process that was going on campus-wide at the time, the plan was originally designed to be completed in three phases—2002, 2010, and 2020. The college wished to take fuller advantage of its unique urban setting compared to peer institutions, and to create an overall structure throughout the campus which would engage with the surrounding neighborhood. The plan was not designed as a rigid template for expansion, but rather as a framework of ideas on which future developments could be based. The creation of the plan involved thorough analysis of buildings, infrastructure, design opportunities, and prevailing problems found on campus and using this analysis to create a set of goals and issues to be addressed by the plan.
These goals and issues that were to be addressed by the Master Plan ranged from suggestions on future building projects to the creation of new signage on campus. The plan identified housing and athletic spaces as areas in which improvement should be made, and suggested that new housing was an area that needed more attention from the college. There was also a focus on increased vehicular accessibility to the college. This included opening the eastern end of Vernon St. and creating new roads and entrances into campus. The master plan also recommended increasing the amount of parking available on campus both in lots and on streets which would be linked by these new roads. Landscape improvements were to be made throughout the campus to create a more consistent look, especially on the campus edges which were to be an important part of campus in the master plan. The pedestrian aspect of Trinity was to be emphasized as walkways were to be created and renovated, particularly the lower long walk. The evaluation of campus conducted by the Master Plan Team showed that the signage throughout the campus was both inconsistent and ineffective. Under the master plan, new maps, signs, and building identifications were to be placed throughout the campus allowing easier navigation of the campus for visitors and prospective students. The master plan did not create set restrictions on new buildings, but rather created suggestions for placements of new buildings and the style in which these were to be built in. Stylistically, new buildings were to reflect their locations on campus while maintaining the defined quads and open spaces and the architectural qualities of the long walk. The college wished to maintain the small scale and mixed use characteristics of the college while extending the campus to its boundaries. Extending the college to its boundaries under the master plan would not only take fuller advantage of the space Trinity owned but would allow the school to shift from inward facing to outward facing and creating new developments in the neighborhood. The master plan attempted to link the college more closely with the neighborhood by creating new developments on the boundaries, particularly New Britain Ave., and by attempting to stimulate new on and off-campus investment.
In the decades since the 1997 Master Plan’s creation, the implementation of ideas and goals set by the plan have not been a priority of the college. Some aspects of the plan were carried out in some form, but for the most part, it has been pushed aside and the college has continued to grow without this set plan. The admissions building and the addition to the library were designs from the master plan that came to fruition in the way that the plan had intended. Renovations to the lower long walk, Vernon Street, and on campus housing as well as the building of new housing such as the Summit Street Dormitories and the Crescent Street Townhouses kept to the basic ideas of the master plan, although abandoned major goals that were to be attained through the plan. In 2006 under President James Jones, the master plan was updated to include the college’s capital campaign and to address a need for new science buildings and arts facilities. This updated plan no longer had a focus on connecting the school with the community and creating a more open and linked neighborhood, instead, it did the opposite and continued to keep an inward face on the school. The renovations to Vernon Street were supposed to include the opening of the eastern end as a new entrance to the college, instead, the college blocked the entrance off keeping the school completely separate from the neighborhood. One of the major new roadways into campus was designed to be on Crescent Street where the townhouses now stand. Under the 1997 Master Plan, this was to be where the college would be able to expand its influence into the community, instead the townhouses now stand with their backs to the neighborhood. Parts of the 1997 Trinity College Master Plan still remain as goals for the college, but the connections between the neighborhood and college that were major aspects of the plan have been left behind.
Watkinson Library, Trinity College
- Olmsted’s Plan for Trinity College0MI / N
- William Burges’ Plans for Trinity College0MI / N
- Trinity College Gates/ Mather Quadrangle0.1MI / SW
- Thomas Church Brownell0.1MI / NW
- Civil War Memorial of Trinity College, 1950: Cannons from the USS Hartford 18580.1MI / N
- Trinity College Hamlin, Cook, and Goodwin Halls0.1MI / W