RTC MP Progress


San Francisco State University has hired a design team to develop a physical master plan for Romberg Tiburon Campus.Located on San Francisco Bay near the Pacific Ocean, the campus is a scientific and educational bridge to the extraordinary physical, biological, and cultural diversity of nearby marine and coastal ecosystems. The campus has a rich history of marine research, education, and discovery dating back nearly 40 years. It is home to the Estuary & Ocean Science Center, a research and service organization of the University, with an established academic reputation for excellence in marine and estuarine sciences. 

The 53-acre Tiburon campus is set within a compelling landscape and bay shore replete with cultural and environmental history. The physical plant has aging buildings and infrastructure with historical value, as documented in a recently completed historic resource evaluation. In addition, the campus has nearly half a mile of armored shoreline (seawalls, riprap, and rubble) that negatively impacts natural coastal habitats, ecological processes, sediment transport, and biodiversity.

drone image of site looking northwest

Planning Context. The Romberg Tiburon Campus (formerly Romberg Tiburon Center) has never had a master plan formally prepared and adopted by the campus or the CSU Board of Trustees. An approved master plan and certified Environmental Impact Report (EIR) are required before the university can take on significant demolition and new construction projects on this site.

Focus and Process. The planning approach engages and includes students, faculty, staff, and affiliates, as well as the greater community. Its purpose is to build the social, political, economic, and policy support for the plan. Finally, the plan must lay a strong foundation for implementation by informing land use; establishing infrastructure needs; defining projects and phasing; establishing design characteristics; and attracting potential development partners.

Design in Public. The main planning activities are being carried out on the Romberg Tiburon Campus in an interactive charrette format. 

detail of comment board from charrette

Sustainability Approach. The campus is seeking certification of this plan under the Living Community Challenge program, which will guide the format of the planning process. The Living Community Challenge is a tool to help create a campus community that is vibrant, connected, and regenerative. San Francisco State University is the second CSU campus to register a master plan with LCC (the other is CSU Monterey Bay). 

Engagement Strategy. Throughout the development of the master plan, the consultant team is holding a series of meetings and work sessions with members of the internal campus community as well as the broader Tiburon community. The meetings involve a combination of presentations of the various elements of the plan as it evolves, as well as hands-on charrettes to work through design issues, ideas, and concepts, with the goal of producing a holistic and representative shared vision for the campus’s future.

members of university advisory group presenting ideas