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

Wiggins Drive and Overlook

With angled parking along both sides, Wiggins Drive, like Hawthorne, is dominated by cars. The density of buildings along this street, however, along with its well-tended landscape and a variety of building functions, creates a more neighborhood-like feel to Wiggins despite its expanses of pavement.

At its southern end, Wiggins Drive connects to Rim Road and a moderate-sized surface parking lot. Despite scenic views to the Juárez Mountains, the southern end of Wiggins lacks the vitality of the rest of the street. This portion of the street is not addressed by significant buildings, and a considerable change in grade cuts the street off from the Schuster Road area.

As with Hawthorne Street and University Avenue, the Master Plan recommends removing vehicular traffic and parking from Wiggins to create a pedestrian-friendly campus core. Wiggins will be redesigned as a pedestrian street, defined by continuous landscape—either with native trees such as mesquites or with desert plantings—and additional buildings. At important intervals along the street—for instance, at major building entrances—the pedestrian street will broaden to create public plazas related to interior public spaces. The design of large scaled plazas will incorporate shading devices, such as catenary screens to create shady points of respite along the street.

It is anticipated that a new academic building will replace the existing Bell and Benedict Halls at the north end of Wiggins. The Master Plan proposes that this new building, along with proposed replacements for the El Paso Natural Gas Center and the Hertz og Building, align with the pedestrian street, incorporating loggias as an extension of interior public space.

Limited vehicular access for service and emergency vehicles will be maintained along Wiggins. The existing Electric Road, which crosses Wiggins and provides service access to the engineering facilities in the core campus, will maintain an at-grade connection across the new pedestrian street. It is recommended that the new academic building on the east side of Wiggins Drive bridge across Electric Road to maintain continuity along this side of the street. All other vehicles, such as shuttles and private vehicles, will be restricted to a new turnaround at the end of Rim Road.

At its southern end, Wiggins will open into a large plaza overlooking the Rio Grande, Ciudad Juárez, and the Juárez mountains beyond. Trellises bordering the overlook will create a more intimate shelter along its western edge, providing shade while framing outward panoramas to the landscape as well as an inward prospect back to the campus and events in the plaza.

A grand stair will extend down the slope to connect with the revised Schuster Avenue area, with a new building stepped along its eastern edge. The western and southern faces of the slope will be developed as a new South Desert Park, landscaped with desert plantings with meandering trails negotiating up to the overlook.
Existing and Proposed Plans (mouse over for proposed image, click image for larger version of proposed plan, click here for larger version of existing plan)

Aerial view of propsed Wiggins Drive & Overlook (click image for larger version)

North-facing section through existing and proposed Wiggins Drive showing catenary shading device
(mouse over for proposed image, click image for larger version of proposed section, click here for larger version of existing section)