Campus Master Plan | Trinity University
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Campus Master Plan

artist's rendering of the campus, looking north

Honoring the Past, Preparing for the Future
Trinity University's Campus Master Plan

We are heirs to a historic, mid-century modern masterpiece.

Our Skyline Campus is a treasure for future generations. Trinity University seeks to create a historic district within its campus on the National Register of Historic Places. This initiative is part of the University’s recently completed Campus Master Plan.

View the Trinity University Campus Master Plan (PDF) (Available only to those logged in with their Trinity accounts.)

O'Neil Ford and James Laurie view Trinity's campus

The Trinity campus is distinctive with its significant collection of regionalist and mid-century modern buildings by a single architect, renowned San Antonio architect O’Neil Ford.

In the early 1950s, Trinity’s 14th president James Laurie and Ford empowered each other to create a vision to build a campus on the site of an abandoned rock quarry. As the University built the Skyline Campus, the “Miracle on Trinity Hill” transpired. Designation on the National Register of Historic Places is the most appropriate way to honor the campus’ architectural history and maintain flexibility for a 21st century liberal arts and sciences education.

historical architectural rendering of Trinity's campus

Establishing a historic district is central to Trinity’s new Campus Master Plan, which pairs the University’s mission with its architectural legacy.

Boundaries to the historic district will encompass all of the University’s buildings designed by O’Neil Ford. The Campus Master Plan reinforces the historic nature of campus and establishes criteria that will guide decisions for renovations, enhancements, space usage, and new construction in the coming decades.

artist's rendering of the Hildebrand link

The Campus Master Plan goes beyond the decision to seek designation as a national historic district. A few of the signature strategies include:

  • Establishing a northern gateway to provide an outward face to the University for visitors, for prospective students, and to our connections with the city of San Antonio.
  • Enhancing a “corridor” through the core of campus that meanders from the upper to the lower part of campus. The “corridor” will improve pedestrian navigation without bifurcating the campus, and it will enhance opportunitiesfor connections.
  • A new wayfinding program to provide signage for better navigation of campus.
  • Redeveloping the Coates Student Center as the central dining facility on campus and adding a 500-guest ballroom that can be reconfigured for use as a conference facility.
  • Replacing of the two existing parking lots on lower campus with intramural green space.
  • Improvements to existing student housing and the addition of independent living options for juniors and seniors. The plan identifies the need for more single rooms, kitchens, and common space in residence halls.

artist's rendering of the grand staircase in middle campus

Trinity’s Campus Master Plan is the result of a year-and-a-half-long collaborative planning process that engaged faculty, staff, students, alumni, and external stakeholders.

The process was also informed by data from an interactive online survey to explore how the community navigates and experiences the campus; student focus groups; interviews with key stakeholders, including area architects; a dining study, a housing demand study, and feedback gathered at several campus forums.

downtown San Antonio skyline views from Trinity's campus

Trinity University celebrates 75 years in San Antonio in 2017. It was a bold decision to move here in 1942 at the invitation of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.

Trinity’s Campus Master Plan honors the University’s architectural legacy and its academic mission. The University’s application for designation on the National Register of Historic Places is the best approach for Trinity University. Institutions such as Harvard, Princeton, Emory, Washington University in St. Louis, Bowdoin, Wooster, Franklin & Marshall, and Washington & Lee – just to name a few – have taken similar approaches with some of their historic buildings and campuses.

We are excited to recognize and celebrate the coherent collection of buildings and landscape features, while maintaining the flexibility needed for a 21st century liberal arts education.