Campus Master Plan | 2011
Click here for a full PDF copy of the UTEP Campus Master Plan

Arroyo

Rendering of Proposed Arroyo (click image for larger version)

UTEP's Arroyo is the portion of a regional drainage system that passes through campus. In some parts of campus, it is a more or less natural ravine, with steep earth banks and wild vegetation. In others, it has been transformed from its natural state into a quasi-urban, quasi-industrial water course, passing through sunken courtyards in stone-lined open passages, under buildings and streets in tunnels and culverts, and accommodating exposed University utilities. While it is a prominent feature of the Core Campus, the Arroyo is difficult to access and so suffers from a certain degree of neglect.

The Arroyo is both a problem and an opportunity. While it is generally dry or almost dry, substantial water flows are frequent, and high water levels have flooded UTEP buildings. The Arroyo is shadier and cooler than the surrounding areas, provides habitat for a variety of species, and constitutes a connection between the campus, the city, and the regional landscape.

The Master Plan proposes that walking and biking paths be constructed on the banks of the Arroyo, linked to other campus pathways and to the city sidewalk and bike paths, with the goal of creating a continuous path system linking the city's Arroyo Park through the UTEP campus to the bike paths in Sunset Heights, and on to downtown El Paso.

The Arroyo offers an opportunity to increase awareness of the natural systems in which the UTEP campus is embedded. Possibilities include explanatory displays conveying information about historical and predicted flows rates and water levels, maps of its tributary area and the geological context, and plant and animal species that visit or frequent it.



Proposed Campus Plan, showing the Arroyo's path through campus. The Master Plan proposes that the Arroyo become a linear park, combining natural and man-made features. New paths linked to the city's pedestrian and bicycle path systems. Two new pedestrian bridges across the Arroyo will offer views into it. (click image for larger version)

The existing Arroyo passes under the Liberal Arts Building (right) before crossing beneath Hawthorne Street. Restrictions to the stream's flow causes flooding in this and other campus buildings.


Aerial view of the Arroyo at Hawthorne Street and University Avenue. New buildings on the sites of the existing Liberal Arts and Academic Achievement Buildings will overlook the Arroyo from its banks; their courtyards and shaded outdoor passages will be linked by a bridge. (click image for larger version)

Existing and proposed east-facing Section through the Arroyo east of Hawthorne Street
(mouse over for proposed image, click image for larger version of proposed section, click here for larger version of existing section)

Reconnecting The Arroyo

The continuity of the Arroyo is obscured where the watercourse passes through culverts under city streets upstream and downstream from the UTEP campus.

Northeast of campus and less than one mile away lies the City's Arroyo Park, a large open area utilized by walkers, joggers, and mountain bikers. The City's Scenic Sundays event originates at the nearby intersection of Scenic Drive and Rim Road, just 1.4 miles from campus, north of Arroyo Park. South of campus, the City's bike path system connects the Sunset Heights neighborhood to downtown El Paso.

The Master Plan proposes that the University and the City of El Paso work together to enhance the visibility of the Arroyo, and the recreational opportunities it offers, by creating paths to connect UTEP's portion of the Arroyo with the City's, and by utilizing physical improvements and signage to connect the University's path system to the City's bike path system.

These improvements will complement the city's "Smartcode", which is directed towards improving walkability and the use of alternative means of transportation among city neighborhoods, and toward preserving El Paso's natural landscape.

An arroyo in the adjacent ASARCO property, north of the UTEP campus, in a more natural, lush state.

Arroyo Park (above three images), near campus at the base of the Franklin Mountains and Crazy Cat Mountain, is a popular destination for mountain bikers and joggers in El Paso.

Aerial plan of the UTEP campus showing proposed connections to regional path and trail systems
(click image for larger version)