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Work to start soon on improving Shelby Campus infrastructure

August 12th, 2008


Aerial view of Shelby Campus

The University of Louisville will begin working this month to improve the infrastructure on its Shelby Campus in a way that will upgrade its green space but still allow for eventual development of the property.

The improvements will take place on about 190 acres of campus north of Shelbyville Road, west of Hurstbourne Parkway and east of Whipps Mill Road. No work is planned now on campus east of Hurstbourne or north of Whipps Mill.

The goal is to develop 108 acres of the 230-acre campus for business, office, technology and research use, said Burt Deutsch of the University of Louisville Development Co., a limited liability company formed in May to oversee the project.

“The university has talked with its neighbors for more than decade about developing Shelby Campus,” Deutsch said. “We have pledged to retain a campus-like setting on the property and said we would build no high-rise or retail establishments. We are keeping that promise.”

UofL will spend $7.9 million to make the improvements. Of that total, $5.7 million is coming from a Kentucky Transportation grant awarded to the university in 2006 and $2.2 million is coming from the UofL Foundation, he said.

Two Louisville firms, Sabak, Wilson & Lingo Inc. and QK4, have been hired to handle the planning, design and engineering related to the project.

The implementations include new two-lane, boulevard-style roads on campus. All of them will be flanked by bike lanes and five-foot sidewalks and divided by a 16-foot median strip planted with trees, shrubs and grass. The schedule calls for the work to be completed by Dec. 1.

Nearly 500 new trees will be planted in the three separate landscape buffers going in along the three edges of the campus.

A buffer between the western boundary of campus and the adjacent subdivision of Bellemeade will be 120 feet wide. Two other buffers along Shelbyville Road and Hurstbourne Parkway each will be 50 feet wide.

“We are committed to maintaining and enhancing the campus-like setting we’ve had out there for so many years,” Deutsch said.

The newly configured campus will offer five entrances. The existing entrance to campus on Shelbyville Road will be removed and realigned with the traffic light at Whittington Parkway. The existing entrance at Whipps Mill Road will be improved.

Two new entrances will be created off Hurstbourne. One about 1,000 feet south of Tamarisk Way will include a traffic signal and lanes for merging and turning. Another about 850 feet south of the traffic signal will allow right-turn only access to campus and back to Hurstbourne.

A fifth entrance will be created by linking the campus road system with Hurstbourne Trace.

Water, electric, gas, cable and telephone services, as well as new sanitary sewers, will be added at the same time the new roads are built.

Before road construction can begin, workers will need to do some controlled blasting in certain areas of Shelby Campus where there is limestone bedrock just under the soil. The contractor will deliver flyers about the work in advance to people who live nearby, and provide an answer line for any neighbor with questions, Deutsch said.

“We do not want to inconvenience any of our neighbors,” he said. “We will do our best to keep the annoyance to a minimum.”

A 20-acre tract in the center of campus will be reserved as an “academic core” to accommodate UofL’s current mission and cover future expansion needs.

Existing dormitory buildings on campus and the Instructional Technology Resource Center (ITRC) on campus will be demolished, and some activities in those buildings will be moved to the Founders Union Building and Burhans Hall.

Plans also call for upgrading drainage and stormwater management on campus, Deutsch said. A new detention basin proposed near Whipps Mill would handle drainage for a 54-acre area on campus that now moves through Bellemeade.

UofL has been planning to develop Shelby Campus since 1999 and is now ramping up its infrastructure to support development because of financial constraints on the university, Deutsch said.

“Shelby Campus has been an under-performing asset for decades,” he said. “We need to make the most of this piece of highly valuable real estate, but do it in a way that preserves the character of its green space.”

Related link
Shelby Campus Roadway Plan drawing (PDF file)

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