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Designing Campus: Working from a Plan

The development of the campus of Brigham Young University has been guided by several different master plans. The earliest master plan was created in 1909 and featured the Maeser Building as its centerpiece. This master plan was updated in 1946 and the general outlines of campus as we now know it began to be established. The 1946 master plan recommended that the high flat area behind Temple Hill be used for academic building development, that the area east of Temple Hill extending northward be used for student housing, and that the areas west of Temple Hill be used for physical education facilities, practice and playing fields.

An aerial view of campus, 1954. Note that the the physical facilities are being developed in accordance with the master plans of the 1940s.

This plan was slightly modified in 1948. The growth of the student body at Brigham Young University in the early 1950s necessitated the creation of a new master plan in 1953. This plan aimed to: 1) incorporate newly acquired property into the campus plan, 2) set new buildings in their proper relation to other campus facilities, and 3) establish adequate access roads, campus roadways, walks and parking areas. This plan also recommended that buildings be spaced out on campus to take full advantage of the scenic surroundings. Campus planners wanted to be sure that the Wasatch Mountains and Utah Lake could be seen from almost anywhere on campus. This plan was updated in 1956 to include a perimeter loop road. This loop road is Campus Drive. Campus Drive was completed in 1960 and opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony in 1960.

President David O. McKay cuts a ribbon to open Campus Drive, 1960. Also pictured are Samuel Brewster and Ernest L. Wilkinson.

The campus master plan has been updated several times in the intervening decades but the general outlines established by the plans created in the late 1940s and early 1950s continue to guide the general outlines of the development of the physical facilities of Brigham Young University.

If you would like to learn more about the master plans that have guided the growth of Brigham Young University, please contact the University Archivist at (801) 422-5821 or gordon_daines@byu.edu

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