New UMass Amherst Planner Judith Steinkamp Oversees Campus Improvements

AMHERST, Mass. - When Judith S. Steinkamp looks around the sprawling University of Massachusetts Amherst campus, she sees the future. Steinkamp’s new job is to help turn a maze of campus walkways into clear pedestrian routes that connect buildings, open spaces, and meeting places. She will also assist in finding sites for proposed buildings and suggesting physical changes that emphasize the natural beauty of the Amherst campus.

Steinkamp says her job includes overseeing the implementation of the long-term master plan for the campus, with special emphasis on pedestrian access, parking, service vehicle access and movement, and maintaining open spaces. All of those elements will be included when sites are chosen for proposed new buildings, she says. She is also working with a group of campus representatives preparing a proposal for renovating and revitalizing the existing student center complex.

Steinkamp says a few key principles guide the physical development of the University. "Overall, we’re trying to maintain the quality of the pedestrian campus at the core," Steinkamp says. "We have a big, open, green campus, and we need to make the best use of it."

Her office is now completing work on a plan which involves the northeast section of the University where a new School of Nursing building is to be located. Other proposed changes in that area include adding more parking and improving the walkways and open spaces in and around Totman gymnasium, the School of Education, and the Sylvan Residential Area, Steinkamp says. Also, work is now under way on a new computer science and engineering building at the north end of campus. Other long-term projects include the redesign of the eastern campus behind the Morrill Science Center where a building is planned to house the visual arts departments.

In addition, Steinkamp is part of a group working with state highway officials on ways to handle traffic problems when construction begins next year on Route 9 in Hadley and the Calvin Coolidge Bridge over the Connecticut River in Northampton.

Steinkamp was appointed principal planner for master planning in October by Beverly D. Wood, associate chancellor for campus planning and space management. Prior to that, she held a temporary one-year appointment as senior planner in the UMass campus planning office. She earned two degrees at UMass, a bachelor’s in art education in 1968 and a master’s in landscape architecture and regional planning in 1996. Steinkamp worked as an interior designer for 15 years in Los Angeles prior to returning to graduate school.