Senior Vice Pres­i­dent and Gen­eral Counsel Ralph Martin dis­cusses the Master Plan process with the Fac­ulty Senate on Wednesday. Photo by Mary Knox Merrill.

Just as the most recent phase of devel­op­ment at North­eastern — span­ning the past 10 or 15 years — focused largely on res­i­dence halls and stu­dent life, the next phase will focus largely on growing needs for new and ren­o­vated aca­d­emic spaces on campus. The plan also focuses on mat­ters such as housing and enhancing the stu­dent experience.

By the end of 2012, North­eastern plans to submit to the city of Boston its Insti­tu­tional Master Plan that out­lines its broad plans for devel­op­ment over the next decade, a process that involves talks with the North­eastern com­mu­nity and sur­rounding neigh­bor­hoods, said Ralph Martin, senior vice pres­i­dent and gen­eral counsel, at Wednesday’s Fac­ulty Senate meeting. Martin is leading the university’s Master Plan effort.

Since the Master Plan process started last year, stu­dents, fac­ulty and admin­is­tra­tors have helped shape areas of focus. Those include the idea of a “class­room of tomorrow,” improve­ments for using campus space and how to take advan­tage of “campus spines” like Hunt­ington and Columbus avenues, which tie North­eastern to Boston at large, said Patrick Tedesco, a prin­cipal at Chan Krieger NBBJ, a firm con­tracted to assist with the plan­ning process.

The Master Plan will take a broad look at how Northeastern’s infra­struc­ture can help achieve over-​​arching goals, including excel­lence in the university’s research themes of sus­tain­ability, health and security.

We’re not just looking at build­ings and grounds, but how best we can use them to achieve the university’s aspi­ra­tions,” Tedesco said.

One idea under con­sid­er­a­tion is to group aca­d­emic dis­ci­plines together; Tedesco showed a hypo­thet­ical con­fig­u­ra­tion cre­ating a sci­ence quad east of the Curry Stu­dent Center and an engi­neering quad clus­tered around Snell Engineering.

Another chal­lenge would be to better con­nect the sec­tions of campus located on the oppo­site side of the MBTA’s Orange Line, which are cur­rently linked by a few over­passes and Rug­gles Station.

Despite Northeastern’s lim­ited options for fur­ther expan­sion, one option the Master Plan will likely explore is ver­tical space. “We should con­sider whether the two– and three-​​story build­ings on campus are the best uti­liza­tion of land,” Tedesco said.

The Master Plan process will con­tinue through December, with North­eastern offi­cials cur­rently looking for input on “broad thoughts on how to cap­ture oppor­tu­ni­ties for the future,” said Senate Agenda Com­mittee chair Louis Kruger, an asso­ciate pro­fessor of coun­seling and applied psychology.

Ideas or sug­ges­tions for the Master Plan can be sub­mitted via email to masterplan@​neu.​edu.