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Articles: Campus Construction

Brent Betit helped found Landmark College, the world's first college for students with learning disabilities.

The spaces we create for people with learning disabilities can support success or guarantee failure.

Three decades ago, I led a team in designing an entire college campus specifically for students with learning disabilities.

Nearly two-thirds of higher ed readers surveyed expected a major renovation project to be launched or completed in 2016.

Picture it: Faculty no longer get their own offices and libraries have vanished. Dorm rooms come standard with private bathrooms and maid service, and terrazzo tile has replaced carpeting as the new standard flooring across college campuses. Sound ludicrous? Maybe not.

Former university president Richard A. Skinner is a senior consultant with Harris Search Associates.

Much of what we read today about higher education tends to dwell on constraints and reductions, but at least one sector of academe is actually growing.

New medical schools are in various states of planning, development and accreditation, while existing schools are expanding class sizes, portending perhaps the greatest increase in this sector since World War II.

Nearly a decade in the making, the new science building at Clayton State University in Georgia adds a much-needed 58,610 square feet of learning facilities to campus.

The building nearly triples the school’s lab space, creating more efficient facilities to accommodate increasing enrollment.

CHALLENGE:

Clayton State’s enrollment has grown to more than 7,200 students from 4,675 in 2001. There are more student science majors, and every student is required to take laboratory classes.

The Culinary Institute of the Pacific should be ready for Hawai'i community college students in December 2016.

Sacred Heart University's 117,000-square-foot, $45 million Center for Healthcare Education will create needed teaching space for nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and language pathology, and health sciences programs—currently distributed among several buildings on campus.

Located in downtown Manhattan, the 23,000-square-foot Innovation Center at The New School is an AV-intensive facility that’s open 24/7.

The flexible space has become a hub for collaborative, cross-disciplinary learning for the institution’s nearly 10,000 students, who are spread out on a fragmented urban campus.

The 34,430-square-foot, three-story Convergent Media Center at Capital University in Ohio will create a hub of activity where multiple disciplines can intersect.

Under construction on the site of a circa-1905 gymnasium, the 34,430-square-foot, three-story Convergent Media Center at Capital University in Ohio will create a hub of activity where multiple disciplines—including communications, electronic media, music and art—can intersect.

Adding green and sustainable elements to facilities during new construction and renovations is no longer an option for colleges and universities—it’s the expectation.

After putting off past maintenance projects when the economy stalled, leaders at many institutions are finding it difficult to fit them back into the budget.

Outside the circle of higher ed facilities managers, it’s the shiny new campus buildings that get all the glory. Yet what facilities insiders know all too well is that existing buildings are in dire need of attention.

At 500,000 square feet, the new Science and Engineering Hall at The George Washington University is the largest academic building dedicated to these fields in the nation’s capital.

And it serves thousands of students and roughly 140 faculty members in the heart of the Foggy Bottom campus. The building, known on campus as the SEH, provides eight floors of laboratory space to support both academics and research.

Future E-shaped student apartment building and courtyard at the University of Indianapolis.

Apartment building at the University of Indianapolis

Up to 480 students will live in this $25 million, four-story apartment building. Located along the city’s increasingly vibrant Shelby Street corridor, the new structure will replace a 1950s-era, 60-unit apartment complex and an adjacent row of aging duplexes that now house 175 students.

Despite the economic and demographic factors that indicate challenging times ahead for higher ed, campuses across the country are busy building, according to a survey of college and university leaders by UB. With student enrollment growth being a big motivational factor for new buildings and renovations, it’s not surprising that academic buildings and residence halls are the top project types.

Facilities such as Davidson Math and Science Center, a recent additions to the University of Nevada, Reno campus, are built to detailed architectural design standards established by university officials.

Being recognized as a “beautiful campus” goes beyond just having curb appeal. In fact, institutions that are consistently chosen for so-called “most beautiful college campuses” rankings put a lot of resources and effort into demonstrating a correlation between campus aesthetics and academic reputation. For many, that commitment is paying off.

The allure of an attractive campus

President Marc Johnson of the University of Nevada, Reno doesn’t hesitate to say the campus itself is the school’s most effective recruiting tool.

Comprising a three-story classroom building and a two-story advising center connected by a walkway, the Academic Village at Morningside College in Iowa is the first new construction on campus since the 1970s. From state-of-the-art simulation spaces for nursing programs to offices that promote first-year student success, this 35,000-square-foot facility serves a variety of purposes for the Morningside community.

Let there be light—and trees and plants: The walkway connecting University of Regina’s Riddell Centre, which contains the student union and the main food service hub, and the Education Building, home to four academic programs, is an inviting space with plenty of daylighting.

A brighter alternative to the pedestrian tunnel is a ground-level enclosed pedestrian street. It’s a concept that the University of Regina in Saskatchewan has taken to the extreme.

Nearly 100 percent of the main campus buildings are connected by these walkways, which form a figure-8-like loop.

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