Higher education is always changing, continually demanding more of its facilities so it can deliver a better educational experience to its students. Concordia University Irvine has designed a phased series of improvements to its 2005 Master Plan, adapting & improving it so our university can stay ahead of what’s needed to provide academic excellence.
With our plan now unanimously approved by the Irvine Planning Commission, we are moving on to the City Council’s review of our plans in April. Learn more here about the future of our campus, and how we have adapted & improved our plan in order to address the concerns of our nearby neighbors.
Pictured are actual members of the Concordia family. From left to right: Cheri, Lynnea, Tom
Name: Cheri Chan
Title: Assistant Director, International Student Success @ Concordia University Irvine
Birthplace: Hong Kong
Education: Bachelors degree from Cornell University; Masters and Ph.D. from University of Michigan
Factoid: Cheri draws from her personal experiences when she was a college student from Hong Kong attending Cornell University. Today, she mentors and helps students from around the world to grow and flourish academically, professionally, and spiritually.
Extra Credit Fact: Cheri sings in Concordia’s Master Chorale, and enjoys nature and the outdoors in CUI’s Heritage Garden.
Name: Lynnea Marlatt
Year @ CUI: Freshman
Major: International Studies and Missiology
Factoid: Volunteer at Concordia’s after-school tutoring center at the Orange County Rescue Mission’s Village of Hope.
Extra Credit Fact: Plays the flute in the Concordia Wind Orchestra as a non-music major participating for the joy of music, plays in intramural sports, and a member of the school’s swing dancing club.
Name: Tom Sonoff
Title: Executive Director, Campus Safety
Grew up in: Whittier
Residence: Chino Hills
Education: Masters in Human and Organizational Development, Azusa Pacific University
Extra Credit Fact: An Air Force veteran and former police chief, Tom enjoys blending his professional experience with what he likes most about Concordia – a Christ-centered environment that’s dedicated to the success of its students.
Join the growing list of supporters of our proposed Master Plan improvements.
Support the Plan
Irvine is known for its commitment to excellence in education, which is built on four components: An excellent K-12 school system, an excellent community college, an excellent University of California campus, and an excellent private four-year university, Concordia University Irvine. All of Irvine’s educational institutions must Adapt & Improve over time to meet changing needs in education and maintain the City’s reputation for educational excellence. The proposed revisions to Concordia University’s Master Plan will let it stay abreast of changes in higher education – and maintain the educational excellence Irvine expects.
Concordia University’s existing master plan was approved by the City of Irvine in 1993. Our last update was approved by the City in 2005. The changes we are proposing in this update to the Master Plan will not increase the size of the campus above what is already approved – 321,220 square feet of educational buildings (designated “Institutional” in Irvine’s zoning) and 1,320 dorm beds.
Phasing: The implementation of the Master Plan is phased. Only Phase One is calendared for construction upon approval of the Master Plan revisions by the City of Irvine. Subsequent phases will require additional fundraising and more detailed design work, and work on the final phase is not expected to be completed until 2035 at the earliest.
Indicates New Buildings and Improvements
Phase One: Scheduled to begin in 2017, following consideration of the plan by the Irvine Planning Commission and City Council. As proposed, it will include:
New Music, Worship & Theology building: This proposed 38,550 square-foot building will have two wings with a breezeway connecting them. One wing will have group and individual music rehearsal and practice rooms with outstanding acoustics and a state-of-the-art recording studio; the other will house classrooms and faculty offices for Christ College, Concordia University’s school of theology. Between the buildings will be an Arts Court, providing an exterior gathering location for students and staff.
Internal circulation improvements: Phase 1 will include these road improvements to make driving safer and help traffic to flow better within the campus:
Expansion of Concordia West parking lot: Parking Lot A, in the southwest portion of the campus near the baseball diamond, will be expanded by 158 spaces.
Initial Athletic Field Lighting: Concordia University’s athletic programs are moving up to NCAA Division II in 2017, so the temporary lights currently used at the athletic fields must be replaced with NCAA-approved lighting. Improved lighting will allow team practices in the Fall semester to be scheduled later in the day, making academic scheduling for athletes easier. Both NCAA and Irvine require that direct rays from the lights fall only on the playing fields and “spill-over” lighting and glare be avoided, and Concordia University’s lighting plan conforms with these rules. Additionally, we are working with neighbors and the City on a plan that would require “lights off” as early as 9 p.m. (Sand volleyball court lighting is proposed to be added in Phase Two and new tennis court lighting in Phase Three.)
Phase Two: Anticipated to start in 2018, will include:
Concordia University Center Addition: Friday Chapel services held at CU Center for students during the Fall and Spring semesters are currently standing room only, so a modest 3,300 square-foot addition to the facility is proposed. This will allow the chapel to be able to seat 800, an increase of 300.
Athletic Field Restroom and Locker Building: This proposed 6,730 square-foot building, located behind the softball field and built on two levels into the small hill adjacent to the track, would provide men’s and women’s locker rooms for use by student-athletes on our soccer, track, lacrosse, softball and baseball teams. It would also include two smaller locker rooms for coaches and officials, and public restrooms.
Track and Soccer Field Viewing Deck: A viewing deck on the west side of the restroom and locker room building would provide bleacher seating for fans of track, lacrosse, and soccer events to the south and softball to the north.
Sand Volleyball Courts: Two NCAA regulation-size sand volleyball courts are proposed in the central campus, south of the existing gymnasium. For information on the courts’ lighting, see the discussion of athletic field lighting under Phase One.
Phase Three: Estimated to begin sometime between 2020 to 2030.
In order to add Phase Three’s planned new education and dorm buildings without exceeding the limits imposed on Concordia by the City, five existing buildings totaling 43,760 square feet will be demolished during this phase.
Science, Nursing and Health Care Building: To keep up with advances in the teaching of science and health care, this new building (approximately 49,000 square-feet) would accommodate state-of-the-art science classrooms, offices, and labs for Concordia University’s nursing, biology, chemistry, physics, and medical science programs. It would be located where the Administration Building now stands.
Grimm Student Union Building Addition: This expansion of approximately 8,500 square feet to the existing Grimm Student Union Building will allow Concordia University to provide more of the amenities that college students now expect, including enhanced cafeteria operations, a book/convenience store, counseling, and student lounge areas.
New Residence Hall: This new residence hall would be located between the existing Concordia University residence halls and the Grimm Student Union. It will have no more than 296 beds, which would bring the total beds on campus to 1,320, the maximum allowed in the current Master Plan.
Recreation/lap pool and pool service/restroom building: This pool, which will be located near the existing residence halls, is for recreational use only and cannot accommodate swim meets or water polo matches. The adjoining 2,800 square-foot pool building would house pool equipment and restrooms.
Tennis court deck: Four existing tennis courts on the campus would be removed to allow for the construction of the new residence hall and replaced with six tennis courts that would be built on a roof structure over part of Parking Lot A in the southwestern portion of the campus. For information on the courts’ lighting, see the discussion of athletic field lighting under Phase One.
Indicates New Buildings
Phase Four: Estimated for approximately 2025 to 2035, this phase will include:
In order to add Phase Four’s planned new building without exceeding the limits imposed on Concordia by the City, two existing buildings totaling 27,471 square feet will be demolished during this phase.
Liberal Arts, Alumni and Advancement Building: This new building of approximately 40,000 square feet would be located generally where Founders Hall now stands. It will house offices for liberal arts professors, as well as administration, advancement and alumni relations offices. To enhance the arts experience at Concordia University, the three-level building would provide a 400-seat theater for performances. To respond to concerns of neighbors, the size of the theater was reduced by half.
Good planning doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Concordia University reached out to its neighbors and worked with them and the City’s Planning Department to address concerns. Here are some of the changes we’ve made in response to the comments we’ve received:
The proposed traffic signal at Ridgeline Drive and Concordia East was delayed with Concordia’s concurrence during the Planning Commission hearing on March 16 after many Turtle Rock neighbors expressed concern that the signal would exacerbate existing congestion. The Planning Commission voted, without objection from Concordia, to delay consideration of the signal until after planned City improvements to the University Drive/Ridgeline Drive intersection are completed. Concordia believes the signal will improve safety and traffic flow at the Ridgeline Drive/Concordia East intersection and continued its commitment to fully fund the installation of the signal, should the City determine it is needed.
There is currently no swimming pool on the Concordia Campus. The initial Master Plan revisions proposed a competitive swimming pool so the university’s swimming, diving and water polo teams and their fans would no longer have to drive nearly four miles to the Wollett Aquatics Center for practices and meets. After neighbors expressed concern about having competitions on the campus, we redesigned the pool so it is now a recreational amenity only, with swimming lanes that are too short for competition swimming and depths too shallow for diving or water polo.
When neighbors objected to construction of a parking structure on campus, we removed our proposed 520-space central parking structure. Now all the parking on campus will remain at-grade.
We originally proposed construction of a 800-seat performing arts venue to accommodate the growing popularity of our music and theatrical productions. When neighbors expressed concern about traffic related to these events, we changed our plans and are now proposing a theater with only 400 seats.
As part of the City plan review and environmental review processes, the City proposed new requirements that will establish permanent controls on special and regular events held on the campus. We have already implemented an Event Management Plan including plans for parking and traffic management and a bus loading/unloading and staging plan. New City reporting requirements relating to traffic and campus events will be imposed in conjunction with the updates to our Master Plan.
Neighbors in Concordia East expressed concern about existing lighting along Dorm Road. After hearing their concerns, we adjusted the lights and installed lighting shields, which have helped to reduce glare from these lights. For a discussion of athletic field lighting, See Phase One.
In response to neighbors’ concerns over large collegiate meets and tournaments, our plans to expand the track from six lanes to nine lanes and to resize the soccer field to NCAA tournament standards were discarded. In lieu, we plan to refurbish our existing track and field to accommodate only dual meets and regular season competition.
We agree with our neighbors that an additional lane on Concordia Drive at the East Gate and Ridgeline Drive would help to reduce congestion there, even beyond the improvements provided by the new traffic signal that will be added as part of Phase One construction. Accordingly, we included this new lane in our updated Master Plan and are working with the City and the County of Orange to obtain its approval. If approved, it would be built as part of Phase One’s construction.
Join the growing list of supporters of our Master Plan improvements.
Like all new development proposals in California, the proposed Master Plan update for Concordia University must go through a rigorous review process that provides the public with many opportunities to ask questions, raise concerns, and be heard.
As you can see from the accompanying table, much has occurred already, with considerable outreach leading to the publication of the City’s Environmental Impact Report for the update to our Master Plan. Next up is a public hearing before the Irvine City Council in April.
If you would like to receive a notice when the City Council hearing is scheduled, or would like us to present our plans to a group or association you belong to, please contact us.
Click on any of the questions below to view the answer. If you don’t see your question on the list, please contact us and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Will any of the proposed revisions be in place soon enough to benefit me?
If you are a senior, the only benefit will be knowing that Concordia University will continue to be a well-respected center of learning, Adapting & Improving so future students will be attracted by all it offers. With prompt approvals, others will benefit in the Fall 2017 semester from the proposed traffic signal and other road improvements at the East Gate and Ridgeline Drive.
When will the new Music, Worship & Theology Building open?
If the City of Irvine’s Planning Commission and City Council approve the project expeditiously, the new Music, Worship and Theology building could open as soon as the summer of 2018 (16-18 months after construction commences).
When will the new traffic signal at Ridgeline go in?
If the City of Irvine’s Planning Commission and City Council approve the project expeditiously, these improvements will be installed this summer, so driving will be safer when you return to the campus for the fall semester.
Will the proposed Master Plan revisions affect current tuition or dorm costs?
No. A separate fundraising effort is underway to raise all the money needed to fund these improvements.
How will construction affect my classes and campus life?
Construction will occur in phases, over time. Only Phase One improvements are currently funded, so construction can start on them once City approvals are in hand. Other than sidewalk re-routings and some construction noise, you should experience no changes to normal campus life.
What happened to the proposed traffic signal at Ridgeline and Concordia East?
The proposed traffic signal at Ridgeline Drive and Concordia East was delayed with Concordia’s concurrence during the Planning Commission hearing on April 16 after many Turtle Rock neighbors expressed concern that the signal would exacerbate existing congestion. The Planning Commission voted, without objection from Concordia, to delay consideration of the signal until after planned City improvements to the University Drive/Ridgeline Drive intersection are completed. Concordia believes the signal will improve safety and traffic flow at the Ridgeline Drive/Concordia East intersection and continued its commitment to fully fund the installation of the signal, should the City determine it is needed.
How can I support the proposed Master Plan revisions?
Your support is needed and appreciated! Just click the “Support the Plan” button below to sign our supporter statement and request updates for future support opportunities, including attending the public hearings before the Irvine Planning Commission and City Council. You can also send a letter of support to the City of Irvine.
Will the proposed Master Plan improvements affect current tuition or dorm costs?
No. A separate fundraising effort is underway to raise all the money needed to fund these improvements
Will my student benefit from the proposed Master Plan revisions?
If your student is a senior, the only benefit will be knowing that Concordia University will continue to be a well-respected center of learning, Adapting & Improving so future students will be attracted by all it offers. Others will benefit from the proposed traffic signal and other road improvements at the East Gate and Ridgeline Drive, which will be built this summer if the City of Irvine’s Planning Commission and City Council approve the project expeditiously. With prompt approvals, the first proposed new building, the Music, Worship and Theology building, could be open for the beginning of the 2018 academic year (August 2018).
Why is Concordia University proposing these changes to its Master Plan?
We are the fourth leg of Irvine’s educational excellence: an excellent K-12 school district, an excellent community college, an excellent University of California campus, and Concordia University Irvine, an excellent private university. From kindergarten to graduate school, all educational institutions must Adapt & Improve to meet challenging and changing demands placed on educational facilities, which is why we have proposed making revisions to our Master Plan. Our specific needs include venues for hands-on learning environments that our initial campus buildings cannot accommodate adequately through renovation, including science labs and orchestra and music practice rooms.
Do I still have the opportunity to comment on the proposed Master Plan revisions?
The official comment period for the Environmental Impact Report has already closed, but the City will accept public comments at both the upcoming Planning Commission and City Council hearings. If you would like to receive an email update when these hearings are scheduled you can join to our mailing list.
What have you done to address neighbors’ concerns?
We have met many times with neighbors in Concordia East and Concordia West, and with other Turtle Rock neighborhoods. For a full list of these proposed changes, please see the Responding to Community Input section of this website.
What will be done during construction to reduce impacts on neighbors?
When construction is underway, we will comply with the City of Irvine’s rules regarding start and stop hours, dust and noise suppression, and construction traffic and parking restrictions. It is important to remember that construction will be phased, so rather than being ongoing, we expect there will be periods between phases when no construction will be occurring. Also, some construction will occur far from some neighboring residents.
How much will the campus grow under the proposed Master Plan revisions?
We have committed to stay within the limitations currently imposed by Concordia University’s existing Master Plan – no more than 321,220 square feet of educational buildings (designated “Institutional” in Irvine’s zoning) and no more than 1,320 dorm beds. Currently, the campus’s educational buildings total 243,571 square feet, and there are 1,024 dorm beds. We propose to demolish some older buildings and add new ones, bringing the total square footage of educational buildings to the allowed 321,220 square feet. We are also proposing to add one new dorm building, which will bring the total bed count to the allowed 1,320.
How much more traffic will be generated by the proposed master Plan revisions?
The Environmental Impact Report’s traffic count studies were conducted in October 2014 and April 2015, on days and times reflecting normal Concordia University Fall and Spring semester traffic, and during a Spring weekend with multiple events scheduled on campus. The traffic counts showed the university currently generates approximately 4,732 average daily trips (ADT), with 360 ADT during the morning peak hour (8 to 9 a.m.) and 421 ADT in the afternoon peak (4:30 to 5:30 p.m.). Using the Irvine Transportation Analysis Model, the EIR’s traffic study yielded the following projections for new trips from the proposed Master Plan revisions, showing that traffic is expected to rise by about 1,500 average daily trips under the proposed plan.
What is being done to address projected increases in traffic?
According to the City’s EIR, “The recommended improvements at the intersection of Ridgeline Drive/University Drive for future scenarios, which are consistent with the City’s proposed intersection improvement project, would address the proposed project’s impact under the Existing Plus Project traffic analysis scenario.” In addition to paying the university’s fair share for the proposed improvements at the Ridgeline Drive/University Drive intersection, the Master Plan update includes installation of a traffic signal at the Concordia East/Ridgeline Drive intersection and an additional outgoing traffic lane from Concordia East, both at the university’s expense.
Based on what you know now, what is your opinion of the proposed Master Plan revisions?
I support the proposed revisions to the Concordia University Irvine Master Plan. It is important for Concordia to adapt & improve to meet the changing needs of higher education and remain an excellent university, in keeping with Irvine’s longstanding commitment to educational excellence.