The Village at Hendrix
In 1995, DPZ designed a master plan for Hendrix College, focusing primarily on the restoration and improvement of the school’s original pattern of quadrangles and courtyards, portions of which date back to the 1890s. A decade later, the team was invited to return to the campus to assess the plan’s progress and to develop an updated 10-year plan that would guide the College through a period of intense growth during which the student body is expected to increase substantially. In order to accommodate this expansion without sacrificing the quality of the “small college” experience, the plan introduces a college system, which organizes housing, dining, academics, and social components into a more intimately-scaled structure within the campus. Each college will have its own Master’s House, in which a faculty member lives on campus among the students.
The most significant proposal, originally made in 1995 and refined in the new master plan, is the creation of a “college town” on 129 acres to the east of Harkrider Street. With a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly town attached to the campus, Hendrix will be able to offer a more complete and varied college experience to a wider pool of prospective students and faculty members. Outside of the immediate Hendrix community, the town could draw summer conventions, which could share facilities with the College when classes are not in session, and senior citizens who are seeking a walkable environment and intellectual stimulation in their retirement years. The town center will contain: a grocery store with parking hidden behind liner buildings; a cinema, which can double as a theater and lecture rooms; a hotel, which can serve as student housing during the academic year; the College’s wellness center; a bookstore; and a coffeehouse. The town will feature a mix of housing types, including live-work units, apartments over shops, townhouses, and larger single-family homes on wooded lots. Squares and greens are distributed throughout the site, and a location is suggested for a future elementary school. Traffic-calming measures, such as adding a median and on-street parking, will transform Harkrider into a pedestrian-friendly urban street lined with mixed-use buildings. Both the campus proper and the attached town will have multiple connections to Conway to the south. Proposals have been made to work with the City to improve frontages to create, ultimately, a seamless and lively urban environment between Hendrix and Conway.
Following the successful implementation of the 1995 plan, it is hoped that the new master plan will continue to preserve the best-loved qualities of Hendrix College while preparing it to become a world-class institution in a dynamic college town.