In the wake of major delays in Penn's plans to build a movie theater on Walnut Street, University Council discussed the future of campus development at its third meeting of the semester yesterday afternoon. While the meeting mainly focused on committee reports, Executive Vice President John Fry also announced that General Cinemas -- Penn's partner in the Sundance Cinemas project -- had filed for bankruptcy and withdrawn their funding, setting back the project. "We're committed to doing the project," Fry told those assembled. "We have continued to talk to Sundance." The group spent most of the meeting talking about future plans for campus. Psychology Professor John Sabini, chairman of Council's Committee on Facilities, presented an update on the Campus Development Plan, which provides guidelines for developing future University architectural and landscaping projects. "The Campus Development Plan is still evolving," Sabini said. "The plan is a work in progress." Sabini said that in developing campus building projects, the University should not shy away from taking advantage of emerging opportunities. "Opportunism is not a dirty word in this game," he said. "Take advantage of what opportunities you're given." Vice President for Facilities Omar Blaik also explained changes in how the University allocates funds to projects, a process which was altered to help fit the needs of the Campus Development Plan. Projects that cost in excess of $250,000 will go through three levels of review before money can be put toward the project: programmatic, financial and architectural. "The main point is that projects move forward only when they meet programmatic needs... and financial needs," Blaik explained. Fry and University Police Chief Maureen Rush provided the faculty, staff and students in attendance with an update on security issues, noting that overall crime on campus has decreased 25 percent in the last five years. But bike thefts and thefts from autos continue to increase, and Rush provided Council with an overview of measures the police department is taking to fight the rise. The UPPD is trying to deter bike thefts with "crime prevention through environmental design," moving bike racks to well-lit and more closely monitored areas. To fight theft from autos, Rush said that police officers are leaving "theft awareness notices" on the windshields of cars that are particularly susceptible to crime because of things like openly displayed property. Blaik also informed Council of the pilot program designed to increase recycling on campus.Comments powered by Disqus
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