Jefferson Barracks Master Plan: Woolpert - 2011 Merit Award Winner

The Jefferson Barracks master plan created an impressive vision for the future of the greater Jefferson Barracks complex and the surrounding communities.... With the plan as a roadmap, the region will create a great tribute to our war heroes, living and past, through a revived and enlivened Historic Jefferson Barracks.”
??Dennis G. Coleman, CEcD, FM President and CEO, St. Louis County Economic Council


Project Summary
The team was tasked with preparing a master plan that would not only position the historic Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis, Missouri, as a regional and national visitor attraction but would also maximize the economic development potential of the region. Spurred by a study commissioned by the St Louis County Economic Council (SLCEC) and the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA), the master plan (1,100?acre complex) encompasses the study’s recommendations to create an enhanced museum district around the Barracks’ western parade grounds. The resulting plan harnessed both community and military objectives in a cooperative effort to preserve the historic and educational legacy of the site while creating opportunities for additional historic interpretation and commercial expansion. Named after Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson Barracks was established in 1826 as the western?most military post in the United States. It served a prominent role as a military hospital during the Civil War, as training grounds for infantry and cavalry soldiers in the methods of war and in keeping peace between western settlers and Native Americans.
Project Purpose
The intent of the master plan was to create a museum district design (including surrounding landscape and museum) that would preserve Jefferson Barracks’ historic significance and simultaneously provide a boon to the region’s economic future by serving as a regional and national attraction. To accomplish this, the broad scope of the plan focused on prioritizing building, visitor experience and circulation opportunities to create a layered interpretive experience while preserving the cultural and natural resources. The plan included development focus on the gateways to the Jefferson Barracks Park, the National Guard Base, the National Cemetery and the VA Medical Center as well as the development of program elements within the museum district. The planning process included analysis and recommendations related to the viability of the project’s scope, including preservation of the historic buildings and landscapes, sustainable relevance as a national museum district, investment strategies and funding options and local business development opportunities.
Role of the Landscape Architect
The exciting and significant project was led by a landscape architect who demonstrated excellence in both catalyzing the planning process and creating graphical representations that helped inform and engage stakeholders. Through a truly visionary, collaborative effort, the landscape architect united disparate organizations and individuals, who had for decades been seeking a solution that preserved and enhanced the history of Jefferson Barracks in a spirit of community cooperation. Stakeholder engagement was secured through a series of public workshops that helped form a collaborative vision of success for the barracks, solidifying building, visitor experience and circulation scenarios. A final public open house was attended by more than 150 political, business and neighborhood leaders and garnered positive local and national media attention. A 3?D Google Earth fly?through model helped the public visualize the potential of the proposed museum district. The level of excitement fostered by the process, final presentation and the promise of elevating Jefferson Barracks to national stature unified stakeholders in their commitment to seeing the project to its conclusion.


Special Factors and Significance
The master plan was successful in uniting a community of stakeholders who had previously been unable to agree on an approach. Unlike many large site or community master planning efforts, the pace at which this planning process unfolded— in only 10 months—helped to capitalize on public engagement and kept project momentum throughout. These factors proved effective in inspiring fledgling preservation efforts, leading to an implementation strategy that presented a clear path forward with 5?year, 10?year, and 20?year project objectives. Public participation was achieved by conducting bi? monthly meetings, facilitating planning workshops, and hosting a preliminary walk?through open house before unveiling the full scope of the master plan at the final open house presentation. The master plan was also reviewed by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon. The landscape architects also paid careful attention to sustainable design and LEED elements, weaving them throughout the master plan recommendations. To recognize the importance of achieving comprehension and support of the plan and its implementation, special attention was paid to the graphic communication. The SLCEC is currently in the process of implementing portions of master plan recommendations and seeking Congressional appropriation for funding assistance.