Copley Quad at Park University (Mo.)
BUILT IN JUST 10 MONTHS, Park University’s new “rooms with a view” take a big step in updating old housing stock.
FUNCTION: Two connecting buildings offer 250 beds in two-bedroom, two-bath suites for four, with 840 square feet each, including a living area with efficiency kitchen. The halls also have computer labs, study rooms, offices, a conference room/classroom, laundry facilities, recreation space, and a full-service kitchen.
PROBLEM: All but one of the residence halls at Park?which is built on three levels on a bluff along the Missouri River?sat on the outskirts of campus. With the newest hall dating back 40 years, the housing stock “didn’t compare well to any of our competitors,” says Clarinda Creighton, vice president of student services. “We didn’t have the amenities students have come to expect.” As a result, “upperclassmen were moving off campus in droves.” Administrators wanted to increase the number of on-campus residents in proportion to enrollment growth. Research had shown that the most engaged alumni had lived on campus at Park. In 2006 its leaders committed to building new housing, but there was no current campus master plan to guide the process.
SOLUTION: A new master plan, developed by the Kansas City, Mo., firm Ellerbe Becket, abandoned the campus fringe zone of dorms in favor of a residential quad located close to Park’s academic core, rec facilities, and downtown Parkville. The craftsman style of Copley Hall, which dominates that part of campus, was picked up in the project’s design.
An integrated design-build approach in which Ellerbe Becket provided at-risk construction management services allowed for an expedited schedule. Yet Park officials still had decisions to make?including abandoning the original design of one wing being built into the cliff so that it would “look like a chateau,” notes Creighton, a decision made because of the high cost of building into the stone. But the setting is still something to write home about. “I wanted to make sure anybody looking out the window was going to see something good,” she says.
Besides the scenery, there are people to see outside those windows. The halls, which earned a LEED Silver designation, have created “a lot more pedestrian traffic in the center of campus,” Creighton says. John Poston, a principal architect at Ellerbe Becket, refers to the project as “a textbook example of success driven by good planning and great execution.”
Soon planning will begin on another residence hall to finish out the quad.
--Cost: $18 million
--Timeline: Fall 2007 ground breaking; August 2008 completion.
--Project Team: Ellerbe Becket and Sinclair Hille of Lincoln, Neb., designed the residences; Ellerbe Becket Construction Services managed the process.
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