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Articles: Campus Construction

In the business world, products sometimes price themselves out of the market and provide an opening for competitors.

Capital fundraising retains a top slot among institutional fundraising priorities due to renovation and construction imperatives, new program requirements and the need to update technology. In addition to broader capital campaigns and a razor-sharp focus on major donors, more institutions are seeking support from the business sector.

Mercer University Bears football fans who enter the Macon, Ga., campus through the Stadium Drive entrance now pass the school’s new fountain and surrounding rain garden. The garden, which is 1.5 acres, is not only attractively landscaped—it serves a dual purpose by collecting rainwater runoff from nearby parking lots.


The former tension pond near Mercer’s football stadium had been built to code to control runoff but was unattractive and occupied a lot of space, says James Netherton, executive vice president for administration and finance.

The future Lassonde Studios at The University of Utah.

A 148,000-square-foot facility at The University of Utah combines 412 residences with a 20,000-square-foot “garage” space for students to build prototypes and launch companies. The University of Nevada, Reno Student Achievement Center will bring together academic and other services now scattered across campus.

Part of a master plan for an athletic corridor on the east side of Creighton University’s campus in Omaha, Nebraska, the new 43,000-square-foot Championship Center is located near stadiums and courts where the big games are played.

CU’s nationally-ranked NCAA Division I men’s basketball team will now practice in the same facility where other student athletes train.

This six-story, 114,700-square-foot mixed-use building will house the health and computer science programs and serve as a campus gateway when it is completed in July 2015.

Funded by $36.9 million in state bonds, the facility was designed by Gruskin Group (N.J.), which also worked on the Green Lane building, a gateway to the opposite end of campus that has similar exterior finishes.

Getting tripped up on the latest accessibility standards when planning or renovating campus buildings—and then having to make costly changes later—is hardly a project team’s idea of a good time.

Regardless of function, many of the facilities completed within the past year on college and university campuses were designed to create connections. These buildings may help campus groups and departments collaborate, or they may enhance town-gown relations.

Linking the facility to other parts of campus through a deliberate architectural feature is another way project planners are focusing on connections. Find out how each of the following six new buildings is bringing people together.

Old meets new at the McKinnon Center for Global Affairs, a 40,000-square-foot facility that was formerly known as the 100-year-old Johnson Hall at Occidental College (Oxy) in Los Angeles.


Politics, foreign languages and other global affairs-related majors are some of the Oxy’s most popular fields of study, but there hadn’t been a centralized location for these students and faculty, says Derek Shearer, director of the McKinnon Center.

Of all the new ideas bubbling to the surface in building state-of-the-art science centers, the one theme that was constant across all Inside Look submissions was creating spaces that foster collaboration—both among students and teachers within a specific science, as well as across all science disciplines. One school even calls its science center a “collaboratory.”

Center for Communications and Creative Media (CCM)

Champlain College (Vt.)

Planned occupancy: August 2015

Design: ColinLindberg Architects (Burlington, Vt.)

Wrapped in bowed glass, the building’s first three floors give passersby a full view of events and activity going on inside.

People walking past 160 Massachusetts Ave. in Boston are likely to both see and hear beautiful music being made. That’s the point of this 14,000-square-foot addition to Berklee College of Music.

The future Public Safety Institute at Eastern Florida State College.

Public Safety Institute

Eastern Florida State College, Melbourne campus

Planned occupancy: February 2015

Design: BRPH (Melbourne, Fla.)

The $13.2 million, 66,500- square-foot facility—featuring a mock jail cell and mock courtroom—will provide training for law enforcement officers, corrections officers, firefighters and others in public safety roles. School officials are seeking funding for three additional buildings for the campus.

The top trend in college performance spaces today is the flexibility being built into them. From adjustable walls and seating that can accommodate a variety of performance types to acoustics that adapt to handle everything from African drums to an orchestra, theaters are expected to match specific events.

“We see more and more educational users asking for fully flexible ‘black box’ type spaces, where the stage and seating can be rearranged for each production,” says Robert Shook, founding partner at Schuler Shook, a Chicago-based theater planning consultancy.

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.