University of Utah trustees have approved a 20-year plan to build 40 new buildings and still make the campus friendly to walkers.
The master plan puts future construction in the heart of campus by connecting it to TRAX stations with features designed for pedestrians.
The new buildings will add 3.8 million square feet of space and require demolition of nearly 400,000 square feet in 16 obsolete buildings.
"Our campus is huge. It's just not walkable," says Randy Dryer, who helped lead the effort as board chairman. "The concept now is to make little pockets that are more concentrated and dense. That will bring people together, as opposed to this sprawl."
Planners want to get people out of their cars.
"There will be more use of shuttles," Dryer said. "We will continue to be a commuter school. The plan anticipates an increase of the resident population but also encourages nonresident students to spend more time on campus."
The University of California accommodates more students on its 160-acre Berkeley campus than the University of Utah, despite twice the space in Salt Lake City.
"And yet you don't feel confined," Utah planning chief Mike Perez said of Berkeley. "You find vibrancy, pockets of energy resulting from density. It's successful when it's managed well."
The new plan replaces a blueprint that had set the 36-acre golf course for development. Much of the nine-hole course will remain open space.
The Utah State Board of Regents, which oversees Utah colleges and universities, will review the plan this summer.