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Articles: Campus Construction

The encouraging sounds of construction will be heard on many campuses in 2015, but funding shortages will force some institutions to scale back building plans, according to a UB survey of higher ed facilities managers.

Nearly four in 10 respondents expect to break ground on a new facility in 2015, while more than one-third say a new facility will be completed. And seven in 10 reported that a major renovation project would be launched or completed.

Higher ed thought leaders and reader surveys provide insights into what's ahead for colleges and universities in 2015.

To help our readers navigate the coming year in higher education, University Business proudly presents Outlook 2015. In-depth stories cover the major trends impacting administration and management, enrollment and retention, finance, facilities, technology, and teaching and learning. We interviewed administrators and other experts in each of these topics to capture their predictions about what 's on the horizon for colleges and universities.

For years, universities have taken advantage of an insurance solution known as Owner-Controlled Insurance Programs (OCIPs) or “wrap-ups.” OCIPs provide general liability insurance and workers compensation for the length of a construction project for all or a majority of the parties involved rather than requiring each participant to be responsible for the procurement of insurance. OCIPs are used on large individual projects or on a “rolling” basis by aggregating smaller projects completed over time. A well-run OCIP can save a university 1-1.5 percent of hard construction costs.

The contemporary campus recreation center has graduated from yesterday’s dingy weight room. In fact, at many institutions, the rec center serves as a multipurpose space, hosting celebrations on special occasions and promoting student wellness in body and mind throughout the semester.

The needs of those who work and learn in institutions of higher education require environments that reflect their preferences and culture more than ever before. That’s why experiential branding and wayfinding have become integral parts of an institution’s architectural expression. While the brand—the story of who you are and why you exist as an institution— builds distinction (beyond curriculum choices) in the marketplace, wayfinding serves to direct, inform and inspire.

Increasing enrollment is a priority for many institutions. The race is on to create a marketplace distinction in order to attract new students and to retain current students. As if this challenge weren’t enough, colleges and universities are faced with rising costs, reduced endowments and smaller budgets. As campus leaders look for ways to leverage their resources and still accomplish their enrollment and growth goals, one viable strategy is to recognize the role that physical facilities have on student attraction and retention.

In the business world, products sometimes price themselves out of the market and provide an opening for competitors.

Capital fundraising retains a top slot among institutional fundraising priorities due to renovation and construction imperatives, new program requirements and the need to update technology. In addition to broader capital campaigns and a razor-sharp focus on major donors, more institutions are seeking support from the business sector.

Mercer University Bears football fans who enter the Macon, Ga., campus through the Stadium Drive entrance now pass the school’s new fountain and surrounding rain garden. The garden, which is 1.5 acres, is not only attractively landscaped—it serves a dual purpose by collecting rainwater runoff from nearby parking lots.

Challenge 

The former tension pond near Mercer’s football stadium had been built to code to control runoff but was unattractive and occupied a lot of space, says James Netherton, executive vice president for administration and finance.

The future Lassonde Studios at The University of Utah.

A 148,000-square-foot facility at The University of Utah combines 412 residences with a 20,000-square-foot “garage” space for students to build prototypes and launch companies. The University of Nevada, Reno Student Achievement Center will bring together academic and other services now scattered across campus.

Part of a master plan for an athletic corridor on the east side of Creighton University’s campus in Omaha, Nebraska, the new 43,000-square-foot Championship Center is located near stadiums and courts where the big games are played.

CU’s nationally-ranked NCAA Division I men’s basketball team will now practice in the same facility where other student athletes train.

This six-story, 114,700-square-foot mixed-use building will house the health and computer science programs and serve as a campus gateway when it is completed in July 2015.

Funded by $36.9 million in state bonds, the facility was designed by Gruskin Group (N.J.), which also worked on the Green Lane building, a gateway to the opposite end of campus that has similar exterior finishes.

Getting tripped up on the latest accessibility standards when planning or renovating campus buildings—and then having to make costly changes later—is hardly a project team’s idea of a good time.

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.

Old meets new at the McKinnon Center for Global Affairs, a 40,000-square-foot facility that was formerly known as the 100-year-old Johnson Hall at Occidental College (Oxy) in Los Angeles.

CHALLENGE:

Politics, foreign languages and other global affairs-related majors are some of the Oxy’s most popular fields of study, but there hadn’t been a centralized location for these students and faculty, says Derek Shearer, director of the McKinnon Center.

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