Campus construction: New facilities foster collaboration

Regardless of function, many of the facilities completed within the past year on college and university campuses were designed to create connections. These buildings may help campus groups and departments collaborate, or they may enhance town-gown relations.

Linking the facility to other parts of campus through a deliberate architectural feature is another way project planners are focusing on connections. Find out how each of the following six new buildings is bringing people together.

Honors, Scholars and Fellows House

Florida State University

Located on Honors Way in the heart of campus, the house brings together Florida State University’s major student achievement programs, including the Honors Program, Office of National Fellowships, Office of Undergraduate Research, the graduate Fellows Society, Office of Graduate Fellowships and Awards, the Program for Instructional Excellence and the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.

– Size: 37,000 square feet

– Completion: January 2014 (dedicated in March)

– Project team: Gould Evans Architects (Tampa, Florida); Peter Brown Construction (Tallahassee)

– Cost: $17.5 million

– Key connection elements: The idea is that bringing FSU’s most talented and motivated undergraduate and graduate students together will result in creative idea sharing, lasting relationships and the discovery of new ways of thinking. This intellectual exchange is building a sense of academic community, celebrating student achievements and promoting excellence. “We’re calling it a house because we really want it to have the flavor of being a home to these incredibly talented and motivated students,” says Dean of Undergraduate Studies Karen Laughlin. “It’s the people who come into this building who will make it truly come to life.”

Farrell Hall

Wake Forest University (N.C.)

The new home for the Wake Forest School of Business includes classrooms, an auditorium, a dining venue, faculty and staff offices, and study and gathering spaces. Classrooms and offices for student services wrap around a three-story atrium space.

– Size: 130,000 square feet

– Completion: November 2013

– Project team: Robert A.M. Stern Architects (New York City); Frank L. Blum Construction (Winston-Salem, N.C.)

– Cost: $55 million

– Key connection elements: The building’s combination of workscapes and social “playscapes” allows for more face-to-face collaboration, networking and learning than a traditional academic building. The 8,500-square-foot Founders Living Room, an atrium setting with an array of seating options and a firepit, serves as a centerpiece—a social and business setting where faculty and students are seen doing business in plain sight. Students can collaborate on presentations via large multimedia screens in small group-study rooms, and when it’s time to network or even interview with a potential employer, they can do so in the Brockway Recruiting Center.

R. Michael Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning

Harvey Mudd College (Calif.)

Consisting primarily of technology-rich, flexible classrooms and lecture halls that doubled the available teaching space on campus, the center also contains study rooms, breakout rooms and lounge spaces designed to foster faculty/student interactions and interdisciplinary collaboration. Digital media and music studios, an art gallery, concert hall, writing center, cafÁ©, and faculty and administrative offices round out the facility.

– Size: 70,000 square feet

– Completion: September 2013

– Project team: Boora Architects (Portland, Ore.); MATT Construction (Santa Fe Springs, Calif.)

– Cost: $42.2 million

– Key connection elements: Trustees, faculty, staff and students worked with the project team throughout the planning, design and construction process to shape the building’s purpose and design. Faculty- student interaction and interdisciplinary collaboration were the main goals. Three student research interns helped the architect understand campus culture and identify sustainability opportunities. Faculty members worked with the construction company to integrate the project into the curriculum of engineering classes, with dozens of student site tours adding to the learning experience. With multiple entry points connecting the center to the rest of campus, the building has become, physically and symbolically, the academic and social heart of the college.

Center for Student Excellence and Leadership

Purdue University (Ind.)

The CSEL houses programs that help retain students and support their success. Along with study and tutoring rooms, staff offices, meeting rooms and counseling areas, there is space for student leadership activities and organizations.

– Size: 81,500 square feet

– Completion: May 2014

– Project team: Scholer Corporation (Lafayette, Ind.); Sasaki Associates (Watertown, Mass.); F.A. Wilhelm Construction (Indianapolis); Hunt Construction (Indianapolis)

– Cost: $29.5 million

– Key connection elements: The facility, designed to connect the residential section of campus and its academic core, is a hub where students, faculty and staff can collaborate on student development, leadership and academic growth. Its first floor is a public place where people can meet, relax and interact. The second floor features community work areas for student organizations. The third floor houses a variety of support functions, such as the student activities office and a student organizations business office. And the top floor, an “academic success hallway” brings together tutoring rooms and academic help centers formerly located throughout campus.

Marion Hall/Pamela and Edward Clark Hall

Texas Christian University

This two-bedroom residential community, part of the Worth Hills Village development (the ”Hillz”), includes 400 beds organized into two-, three- and four-bedroom suites, mainly for sophomores. It is designed in an arc shape to give hallways more space. Students use access cards to enter their building but get into their bedrooms (most of them singles) with a key.

– Size: 148,032 square feet

– Completion: August 2013

– Project team: KSQ Architects (Dallas); Beck Construction Group (also of Dallas)

– Cost: $37.5 million

– Key connection elements: A barrel-vault archway acts as a visual point of entry into the development, which will be able to house 1,800 students once the eight-phase project is complete. The archway will eventually lead to a multipurpose building. The residence halls were built facing the campus quad to help embrace approaching pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular traffic. Community spaces, such as baking kitchens and hallway study nooks, help create a sense of family among residents, as do the large living rooms in each suite. Printing stations, as well as ice and water machines, are on every floor. The lobbies are highly active places, with the upper floors visible from the main floor.

Southern Maine Campus

Husson University

Located 136 miles from Husson’s main campus in Bangor, this three-acre campus with a single building offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in 20 professional-oriented programs. There are 15 classrooms.

– Size: 17,000 square feet

– Completion: January 2014

– Project team: WBRC Architects Engineers (Bangor and Portland); Allied Cook Construction (Portland)

– Cost: $6 million

– Key connection elements: The campus was placed about a mile from Interstate 95 outside of Portland—the state’s largest city—to make it convenient for high school grads and working professionals. About 200,000 adults who have earned some college credits but have yet to complete a degree are in the vicinity. The campus has traditional classrooms but also offers online and hybrid courses. Its undergraduate programs include business, criminal justice, elementary education, hospitality management, paralegal studies and software development. Graduate programs cover business, criminal justice, human relations, nursing, pastoral counseling and school counseling. An alternative teacher certification program is also offered.


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