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Articles: Campus Construction

  • Young Harris College (Ga.) broke ground on a $41 million, 125-square-foot campus center in April. To be the largest structure on campus and completed in fall 2014, the project is the centerpiece of YHC’s master plan. It will house a multipurpose student center, a library, an expanded dining hall, and a banquet facility. Student-facing offices such as admissions and advising will be housed there. VMDO Architects (Charlottesville, Va.) is handling design. The general contractor is Choate Construction Company (Atlanta).

A 46,000-square-foot abandoned furniture warehouse has been given new life as the continuing education and industrial center at Randolph Community College in Asheboro, N.C.


As with many community colleges, Randolph was in need of expansion due to large enrollment growth. Overflowing parking lots as well as classrooms in the machining program at the school led to an overhaul of the old Klaussner Furniture warehouse, located adjacent to the campus’ Health & Science Center and to Randolph Early College High School.

  • A 20,000-square-foot newsroom with a 360-degree assignment desk as well as television, radio, and vodcast studios will be at the heart of Wallis Annenberg Hall, a five-story, 88,000-square-foot facility for the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. A four-story atrium will feature a multistory digital media tower showcasing student programming, social media, and live broadcast news. The $50 million building was designed by Harley Ellis Devereaux (Los Angeles) and is scheduled for a fall 2014 opening.
After The Village at Muhlenberg College (Pa.) project (shown) was a success with the use of modular, officials turned to the same delivery method for a current project, an addition to a 150-year-old residence hall.

While a new dorm or learning space might be needed or desirable on campus, facing down the associated headaches of time, mess, and expense can overshadow the benefits the finished project might bring.

Modular construction is an alternative delivery method that can tame some of those issues. Unfortunately, the word modular sends people back to the drafty trailers they remember from elementary school.

“Modular can be concrete and steel,” says Jim Snyder, director of operations for Warrior Group Construction. “It doesn’t have to look like an 8th-grade science class.”

Gone are the days when a basic classroom with a podium and desks was considered an acceptable learning space. In fact, according to CDW-G’s “Learn Now, Lecture Later” report released in June 2012, 47 percent of instructors surveyed said they are moving beyond the lecture-only model. In addition, 71 percent of students and 77 percent of instructors said they use more classroom technology than just two years ago.

The new Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Ecosystems Research at Nova Southeastern University (Fla.) is believed by officials to be the largest research facility dedicated to this research area in the nation. So it’s fitting that officials did it up big with the grand opening, featuring President George Hanbury and members of the media taking a ceremonial dive.  The facility is part of NSU’s Oceanographic Center at John U. Lloyd Beach State Park.

Penn Park at  the University of Pennsylvania

At The Ohio State University, the term “master plan” is obsolete. That’s because what traditional master plans often lack—input from an institution’s academic and finance folks—are an integral part of the One Ohio State Framework Plan, shares Amanda Hoffsis, senior director of physical planning.

With any campus building, what’s on the inside counts just as much—and probably more—than what’s on the outside. This is especially true with residence halls, which must include a balance of private and shared spaces. “The buildings need to promote interaction among students to encourage peer-to-peer learning in support of the institution’s academic mission,” says Jackson Kane, an associate and housing specialist at Lord, Aeck & Sargent. That’s no small order.

Plans for the Storm and Nasatir complex at San Diego State U

At San Diego State University, construction is under way on a 100,000-square-foot renovation and 30,000-square-foot expansion of the Storm and Nasatir building complex, built in 1957. The project will allow the buildings to meet current health and safety code standards as well as correct deferred maintenance issues and improve water and energy conservation. It is designed to achieve LEED Gold certification.

The Stockton Campus  Center at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

Prior to 2011, the sports and events facilities at the University of Mary Washington (Va.) were nothing to write home about. The university’s Dodd Auditorium had a capacity of 1,300 for concerts and other special events, and the Woodard Campus Center gymnasium, which was built in the 1950s, could only seat 500 and couldn’t be used for anything but sporting events.

DeafSpace architectural design elements aid visual communication and help reduce eye strain and fatigue for deaf and hard of hearing people. A new Living and Learning Residence Hall, dubbed LLRH6, is the second construction project  incorporating DeafSpace at Gallaudet University (D.C.).

Four-bedroom Stafford cottage model being built near The University of Mississippi

A community of 160 two- to five-bedroom cottages is under construction near The University of Mississippi campus. Partners in the $37.6-million, 4,700-bed project are EdR (majority owner and manager upon the fall 2013 completion) and Landmark Properties (handling development and construction). The community will have outdoor living areas, a pool, a sand volleyball court, horseshoe pits, and a clubhouse with a fitness center, tanning beds, an internet café, study rooms, a computer lounge, a game room, a golf simulator, and a community kitchen.

The lounge features a stone-clad fireplace, plush seating, ample seating areas, and a high-definition TV.

Two under-utilized spaces were transformed into highly trafficked, vibrant areas on Chestnut Hill College’s campus in Philadelphia.

Touch screens are taking over—and people expect to see them. In the years since Apple first popularized the technology with the iPhone in 2007, it has become almost rare to meet someone who doesn’t own a touchscreen smartphone or tablet. This is becoming even truer among the college-bound and younger generation. Take, for example, the viral YouTube video showing a toddler who could easily operate an iPad, but seemed perplexed when she touched the pages of a magazine and nothing happened.

What single key thing must campus administrators keep in mind when considering audio options?

“The one thing that needs to be understood for an audio solution across a campus is how to implement a simple solution for all environments that will need audio. The different classroom settings make it very difficult for an administrator to come up with a one-size-fits all type of solution.” —Tim Root, CTO and executive VP of new business development, Revolabs