cooper robertson

Drury University unveils campus master plan as a bold vision for future growth

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Nov. 6, 2017 — After months of work with renowned architecture and urban design firm Cooper Robertson, Drury University has completed a new campus master plan that will guide the school’s physical evolution for decades to come, and build on the success of recent growth in enrollment, academic programming, and alumni engagement.

The small, private liberal arts school based in Springfield, Missouri, is making strategic moves to address the needs of today’s students in a rapidly changing world, and set itself apart in the competitive landscape of American higher education. The strategies are being laid out by second-year president Dr. Tim Cloyd, who spearheaded gains in national visibility, enrollment, and fundraising in 13 years as president of Hendrix College in Arkansas, which is now a top national liberal arts school.

Vision for a new residential quad in the north end of campus.

Drury’s master plan was crafted with extensive input from the Drury and Springfield communities, starting with a week-long charrette in April and continuing throughout 2017. The master planning process has taken place in parallel with a wide-ranging study of Drury’s academic offerings as well as plans for a comprehensive capital campaign. These strategic priorities will inform each other in the coming years as Drury moves to raise its regional and national profile.

“Drury’s new master plan provides an essential, visionary framework to anticipate and accommodate our campus needs over the next 25 to 30 years,” says Cloyd. It is inspired by Drury’s rich legacy, but designed to carry our mission forward deep into the 21st century.”

Drury chose New York-based Cooper Robertson to develop its master plan because of the firm’s extensive experience working with higher education institutions including Ohio State, the University of North Carolina, Yale, Georgetown and Duke University. The firm’s most recent project in the Midwest is a redesign of the Gateway Arch Museum and Visitor Center in St. Louis.

“A good master plan envisions a fabric of buildings, open space and landscape that are knitted together in a cohesive, legible, attractive — and memorable — way,” says John Kirk, partner and principal architect with Cooper Robertson. “Drury’s master plan is ambitious but fully achievable, and I have great confidence in the ability of the leadership and community to make it happen.”

Some of the guiding principles of the plan include:

  • Establish a hierarchy of open spaces ranging from the iconic to the intimate.
  • Create two new precincts that anchor the north and south ends of campus: a residential precinct to the north, and a design and innovation precinct to the south, connected by Drury Lane.
  • Make great streets, and articulate each major intersection as a “node” with hardscape, landscape, wayfinding, and architecture.
  • Strengthen Drury’s borders with distinctive thresholds and entrances, yet maintain an open nature toward the surrounding Midtown neighborhood.
  • Imbue Drury with distinctive character through architectural interventions including a hierarchy of gateways, bridges and towers.

Some of the specific proposals to achieve these goals include:

  • Transform Drury Lane into the iconic heart of campus by closing it to traffic north of Central Street and remaking it as a pedestrian mall.
  • Build a new, state-of-the-art student center that would connect to Olin Library via a gothic, archway-lined bridge spanning across Drury Lane.
  • Create a new residential quad in the north end of campus, bordered in part by several new small-scale residence halls resembling large houses with common spaces to congregate, study and work.
  • Build new classroom buildings in several currently open spaces south of Central Street, creating a design and innovation precinct that strengthens and promotes Drury’s interdisciplinary academic nature and liberal arts mission.
  • Narrow Central Street from Benton to Summit, thereby making it far more pedestrian- and bike-friendly, and re-imagining it as a linear park that tells the history of Drury and Springfield.
  • Consolidate athletics and school spirit on the main campus and its immediate periphery.

“Drury is dreaming big with this master plan,” says David Hinson, executive vice president, COO and CIO. “We engaged a best-in-class design firm in Cooper Robertson to guide us… and they delivered in spades. The engagement that our Drury community exhibited in this process, shines through in the final product. This is a vision that truly reflects this institution.”

High resolution images available upon request. Find more details, renderings and videos at


NYC design firm Cooper Robertson to lead campus master planning process

Renowned group recently completed work on Gateway Arch Museum renovation; Input sessions with stakeholders, campus and community groups will be held week of April 17

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., April 12, 2017 — Drury University has selected acclaimed architecture and urban design firm Cooper Robertson to lead a strategic, momentum-building campus master planning process in the coming months.

The master plan will set a course for enhancing Drury University’s design and development in the immediate future and over the next several decades. The plan will help bolster Drury’s new vision for academics and campus life, and will lend further momentum to the ongoing revitalization of central Springfield. As such, the plan will be created with extensive input from both the Drury and Springfield communities.

Representatives from Cooper Robertson will be on the Drury campus during the week of April 17 to conduct a multi-day design charrette to gather input, ideas and feedback from a variety of stakeholder groups including: faculty, staff, students, Midtown Neighborhood residents, the City of Springfield, Greene County, the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Springfield Association, and many more community leaders and civic groups. The sessions will take place in the Hammons School of Architecture building.

Gathering Input

Architect John Kirk, a partner with Cooper Robertson, says input gathered during the charrette week will be a key part of the process. It will be the first of several such collaborative idea sessions.

“In this process, the university and other stakeholders become part of the design team, taking part in a shared design vision and exploration,” he says. “It’s a significant commitment by Drury to embrace, at the onset, the inclusivity of varied constituents and an impressively broad scope of impact.”

The charrette week builds on the work done by a campus task force, which established guiding principles for the process and selected New York-based Cooper Robertson from a slate of nationally known firms. The task force is led by Drury trustees Kris Anderson and Rita Baron, and includes other trustees and representatives from Drury faculty and staff.

“Drury’s master planning task force is excited to work with Cooper Robertson and all of our stakeholders as we ask ourselves what kind of campus we want to be, and how Drury’s physical presence, both now and in the future, can not only advance the institution’s mission but have a positive energizing effect on the broader renaissance taking place in Springfield,” says Anderson, a 1977 Drury graduate and retired construction executive who resides in St. Louis. “This plan will help guide everything from pedestrian walkways and landscaping to the placement of future buildings to the design principles we will refer to when renovating or building the spaces where students learn, live and spend free time.”

Visionary Design Firm

Cooper Robertson is well known for campus planning, urban design, master planning and award winning architecture. Two of the firm’s most recent projects include the new Gateway Arch Museum and Visitor Center in St. Louis and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. Its work on Battery Park City in New York, for example, reimagined an entire swath of waterfront just a few blocks from Wall Street.

Cooper Robertson is currently active on many campuses including Longwood University and the Lyford Cay International School. The firm has also developed long-term plans, and designed buildings, for Ohio State, the University of North Carolina, Caltech, Yale, Hunter College, Georgetown, the Duke University Medical Center, and many more.

“We are delighted to have the expertise and experience of Cooper Robertson involved with our master planning process,” says Drury University President Dr. Tim Cloyd. “Cooper Robertson is a renowned campus planning and architecture firm that has helped transform leading institutions around the country. As Drury moves into a new era, it will be crucial for us to craft a vision of our physical campus that not only reflects our academic values, but enhances our profile regionally and nationally.”

The planning process will include distinct phases over the coming months, culminating with a plan presented to the Drury Board of Trustees at its full meeting in the fall.

“The new campus master plan will help make lasting, memorable connections, which over time will better weave the existing campus together, allow for cohesive expansion, and connect to the surrounding community, too,” says Kirk, of Cooper Robertson. “This will help make Drury University a world-class destination, a school of choice, and memorable place for all who live and visit here. Our team has greatly enjoyed getting to know Dr. Cloyd, Kris Anderson and the Drury team. We all understand and share the same high expectations for the plan that will emerge, as well as the excitement for momentum building opportunities that will spring from it.”


Media Contact: Mike Brothers, Director of Media Relations: (417) 873-7390 or