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Sense of Place

Dion Family Student Center becomes a hub at Saint Michael’s College

40,000-square-foot building has lounges, meeting rooms, eateries and more
University Business, February 2014
  • Connecting to four of Saint Michael’s dorms, the Dion Family Student Center’s interior passageways provide comfortable access to the facility during the winter months.
  • Inside, the spacious building includes a solarium with views of the Green Mountains.
  • The center has plenty of space for students to socialize and study.
  • Full-time enrollment at Saint Michael’s College is now approaching 2,000 students.
  • The $13.5 million building was completed in August, 2013.

Located in the heart of campus at Saint Michael’s College in Vermont, the 40,000-square-foot Dion Family Student Center offers a centralized space, housing a variety of student services. Nearly half the student population can access the center right from their dorms.


Students had used the Alliot Student Center, built to serve less than 900 students, since 1961. Full-time enrollment is now approaching 2,000. Alliot also didn’t provide much beyond a dining hall and bookstore.

“Along with giving our students a centralized place to study, eat and gather,” says Dawn Ellinwood, VP for student affairs and dean of students, officials wanted to provide easy access to the center when it’s cold or there’s a storm.


Now, residential students, and others, can use the center’s many study and social lounges, meeting rooms, eateries (Alliot still houses the main dining hall), the fitness center, the campus radio station and student services’ offices.

Jay Fayette, senior VP at PC Construction, which managed the project, says officials wanted to create this new hub for students, while keeping with the red brick architecture of the Catholic college.

“It’s a beautiful, multifunctional student center. We put study areas throughout the building, as well as windows that let in lots of sunlight and views of local scenery.” This includes the school’s first solarium, on the third floor.

The first floor, which has an Einstein Bros. Bagels, a grill and lounges, sees the most traffic, Ellinwood says. “On the second and third floors you find students reading in comfortable seating or working in small groups,” she says. “It’s these gathering spaces that have really enhanced the community feel at St. Michael’s.”

  • COST: $13.5 Million
  • COMPLETION: August 2013
  • PROJECT TEAM: Freeman French Freeman (Burlington, Vt.), architect; PC Construction (South Burlington, Vt.), construction management —Lauren Williams

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