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Articles: Campus Construction

The future Judge Damon J. Keith Scholars Hall at West Virginia State University.

West Virginia State University broke ground in October on a 291-bed, $20 million residence hall, the first to be constructed on campus since 1969. The four-story building will sit prominently on the main lawn of campus and provide a “pass through” between the student union and quad.

Repurposing an old campus building may not have the wow factor that comes with creating a new facility from scratch. But colleges and universities driven by financial, environmental and sentimental forces sometimes find rejuvenating the buildings they already have is a more practical solution.

With its amphitheater and café, the atrium area of Bloch Executive Hall is a popular informal meeting area. It was also the scene of a dinner celebration with hundreds of guests.

Sitting adjacent to UMKC’s historic School of Management building, and now complementing it, is the new Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Heading to the campus library used to mean needing serious study silence or a spot for solitary scholarly pursuits. Although the library’s shell may look the same, inside it’s a decidedly different and livelier place.

“The hush-hush is over. Instead you get noise, you get dialogue, you get engagement, you get creativity, you get sharing,” says Jim Draper, vice president and general manager at Gale, the division of Cengage Learning that provides digital and print products to libraries.

Students at Millersville University participate in a ceremonial beam signing.

Millersville University (Pa.) broke ground in September on phase one of a new living-learning community complex. It’s the first step in a commitment to replace all 2,200 beds on campus with suite-style accommodations. Located at one end of the campus’ residential quad, the community will have clusters of 24 to 44 students.

An accessible sculpture adjacent to the main entrance of The College of New Jersey's School of Education building references the early American one-room schoolhouse.

A new School of Education building proves it’s possible to maintain the identities of campus departments while also fostering collaboration. The 79,000-square-foot facility at The College of New Jersey contains classrooms, faculty offices, and areas for hands-on science teacher training, science pedagogy research, group dynamics observation, and model classrooms.

The future residence hall on Bryant Street at Howard U.

Campus Apartments broke ground on an estimated $107 million housing project at Howard University (D.C.). in March. The 1,360-bed project, slated for August 2014 completion, includes two on-campus facilities that will bring underclassmen closer to the campus core. The residences will offer two-person semisuites, social and study lounges, game rooms, and laundry facilities, as well as independent apartment units for faculty, staff, and guests.

While the “curb appeal” of well-manicured lawns as well as easy parking are crucial parts of the first impression a campus makes, how welcome visitors feel once inside the first building they encounter on campus is just as important.

To make their campuses more enticing and friendly to those who aren’t used to making their way around there, some institutions have created welcome centers as a first stop for prospective students, family members, alumni, and other guests.

Summer months on college and university campuses are typically filled with a multitude of facilities projects ranging from required maintenance and renovations to new building construction. The period between spring commencement and fall convocation are important months for renewing facilities, as the majority of students, and many faculty, are not on campus and therefore not inconvenienced by construction during these months. But how do colleges sell the benefits of facilities projects and campus expansions during a time when expense reduction measures are negatively impacting personnel?

Armstrong Atlantic State Univesity's Learning Commons is a satellite library with spaces for students to use technology and collaborate

Edna Holmes Hall, a five-story residential living community at Lewis & Clark College (Ore.) last fall, is designed to use  40 percent less water and 26 percent less energy than a typical residential building.

Wider availability and greater affordability of green building materials are a result of greater demand

Take a look at funding and budgeting snapshots of seven campus construction projects completed between last summer and this summer

You have space on campus for a new building, and visions of a cutting-edge learning center dance in your head. The technology-infused building will be so magnetic that admission applications will pour in, professors will clamour for classroom assignments, and local businesses will plead for partnerships.

Of course, funding won’t be an issue because the new technology center will be so innovative and visionary that bonds and grants will stream across your desk like ducks in a pond.

Ready to begin?

Many colleges and universities are tempted to revamp buildings because there isn’t enough space to construct new, technology-rich facilities. But sometimes, the amount of renovation required can drive costs so high that it may be less expensive to build something new.

That was the situation at Gulf Coast State College (Fla). College president James Kerley explains that an early candidate for a new technology center was a building from the 1960s that was being used as a tech hub.

The campus student center may once have been the place students passed through on the way to their next class. But these facilities have evolved into bustling destinations that foster campus culture and community.