A University of Louisiana at Lafayette master plan includes a mixed-use area around the Cajundome that will contain parking, businesses and living spaces, officials said during a Wednesday presentation.

UL-Lafayette President Joseph Savoie and Steve Oubre, of Architects Southwest, spoke to local business and community leaders at the Lafayette Economic Development Authority and the Realtor Association breakfast to give updates on the master plan. The plan focuses on improving transportation and parking as well as adding covered walkways, outdoor plazas, a new student union and parking garages.

One focus is on connecting UL-Lafayette's main campus and the satellite campus around Cajundome, an area called the Research Village that would include around 625 housing units, a hotel, businesses, parks and other amenities within walking distance of where the researchers work.

"Research parks just don't work anymore," Oubre said. "The kids we're doing this for are in fifth grade right now. The new generation wants something different. Besides parking, the mixed use environment for the research village would set UL apart from all other universities in the region.

"The millennial generation — which is really the activator of research villages — love the ability to live in place, work in place and entertain in place. So creating this research environment was now finding a way to get this mix of uses and make it viable."

This plan also includes multi-use buildings for the main campus, including two on Johnston Street and St. Mary Boulevard across from campus that would include a Taco Bell and a Burger King with apartments above them. 

Also in the plan is a monorail that would connect the two campuses, Oubre said, but that project likely would not happen for the foreseeable future due to costs.

"The basis of the plan is not our ideas but your ideas," Oubre told the audience. "It's what you want with a little bit of science to round it out."

Some parts of the plans are in progress or have been completed, such as remodeling of the Student Union and the Quad and construction of the Path of Knowledge, a bike path connecting the two campuses via St. Landry Street. 

"We have accomplished quite a bit so far, constructionwise, but the more important part of this plan is that we have guidance going forward with future improvements," Savoie said. "We've gotten a lot done, we have a lot left to do, but we have a good road map on what we have to do." 

The master plan was finalized and officially adopted by the University of Louisiana system in 2012. The master plan took into account public comment, LEDA-funded market studies and recommendations from Lafayette Consolidated Government.

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