Master planning committee to hold forums Nov. 5, 7

A steering committee overseeing the creation of a comprehensive master plan to guide development and improvements at Western Carolina University’s Cullowhee campus will hold its first public forum from 5:30 until 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5.

The forum, open to any interested member of the community, will be held at Cullowhee Valley School.

A direct outgrowth of the university’s recently approved strategic plan, titled “2020 Vision: Focusing Our Future,” the campus master planning process will address issues related to new building needs, utilization of existing space, parking and transportation, technology infrastructure, sustainability, safety and security, preservation of campus heritage and integration of the campus with the surrounding community.

As the committee begins its work, one of its first tasks will be to solicit feedback and input from the community, said Melissa Canady Wargo, assistant vice chancellor for planning and effectiveness.

“The university recognizes that its Cullowhee campus is a major focal point, with tremendous impact on Jackson County and Western North Carolina, and is committed to community involvement in the master planning process,” said Wargo, who is co-chairing the steering committee with Sam Miller, vice chancellor for student affairs.

The committee also will hold a campus forum from 3:30 until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, in the theater of A.K. Hinds University Center.

Members of the committee are Craig Fowler, chief information officer; Robert Edwards, vice chancellor for administration and finance; Darrell Parker, dean, College of Business; Joe Walker, associate vice chancellor for facilities management; Gerald Green, director, Jackson County Planning Department; Mark Lord, interim associate provost; Kim Ruebel, associate dean, College of Education and Allied Professions; Maurice Phipps, professor, parks and recreation management; Peg Connolly, associate professor, recreational therapy; Larry Hammer, university registrar; Roger Hartley, associate professor, political science and public affairs; Shawna Young, director, student affairs outreach and assessment; Alecia Page, president, Student Government Association; and Benjamin Ward, Graduate Student Association.

Additional meetings of the master planning steering committee will be scheduled. For more information about the master planning effort, contact the Office of Institutional Planning and Effectiveness at 828-227-7239 or email