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Stanford suspends construction projects
Original post made
on Jan 26, 2009
Faced by a loss of 20-30 percent of its endowment because of the recession, Stanford Provost John Etchemendy told the university's Faculty Senate last week that the university will cancel or suspend $1.2 billion in new construction projects.
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posted Monday, January 26, 2009, 9:27 AM
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Posted by mendicant
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 3, 2009 at 2:42 pm
A little over 20 years ago, the Oval was a mess, the Quad was gravel, the Dish routes were dirt and lightly traveled, and (despite the fence) were easy to get to, at any time of day (or night, for that matter). The central portion of campus, defined roughly by Campus Drive, had a great deal of green space.
I regret the green space is gone. As both a PA resident, and Stanford student, I regret it. The rest, I don't have a problem with. It's the university's right to build, according to the laborious agreements with PA, Menlo Park, Santa Clara Co., and San Mateo Co. Blame Stanford, if you will, but only equally with local, elected government.
I don't necessarily agree that bigger is better. (I'm reminded of Dr. Seuss and the Lorax.) Arguably, Stanford could have preserved the central campus, and either built further away, converted rental property to academic property, or bought land for an entire new campus. But the university pursued growth, attracted the money from research grants and tuition, and determined the growth would be on the central academic lands, not the external lands.
I don't agree with the chest-beaters on either side here. I'm happy with my community character, and am pleased with the proximity of Stanford in terms of intellectualism, arts, culture, science, engineering. Would leaving more of the campus open have been a benefit? Yes. Does its absence inject a fatal flaw to the landscape? No.
If you *really* want to get hot about the issue, go back to Fred Terman and the launching of technology in the 30s and 40s (e.g. HP and Varian), long before Silicon Valley was even a dream. Go back to the 60s and 70s, when Santa Clara Valley was almost completely agricultural, the Valley of Heart's Delight. Go back to the urban planners and political leaders of the 60s and 70s, who cursed us with 50s-style planning, separating workplaces from living spaces by large distances, bridged only by roads never wide enough for the burgeoning traffic, and never spanned by adequate public transportation.
But, IMO it's a waste of time. Keep working on MROSD and other green spaces, and making our region even more accessible for hiking, walking, bicycling, boating, bayside and foothills-side. It's already pretty good, and I think can only get better. If you want to bird-dog Stanford, then try to keep any further development confined to already-developed areas, or to satellite areas (e.g. the SU Hospital campus along 101 in Redwood City), and away from spillover west of Foothill, or farther up into the hills.