Perkins+Will Predicts Trends in Student Union Projects

The firm completes seven student unions in North America in 2014

Perkins+Will announces the completion of seven student union projects across the United States and Canada since January 2014. This unprecedented portfolio of recent work represents designs for public and private institutions of higher education in Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Ontario.

Through their experience designing 50 student union projects, long-term client engagement, and in-depth research, Perkins+Will’s higher education practice predicts four trends related to student unions:

Project delivery through public/private partnerships (P3)
The delivery of projects through public/private partnerships is on the rise. At the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the university was able to fund their project by creating a partnership with the architect, contractor, developer, and a non-profit organization that sold bonds to finance the project. P3 offers the ability to deliver a public project through a private delivery process that is more time- and cost-efficient than a typical public process. In the P3 process, the project team is motivated by cost guarantees and incentives to deliver the project in a shorter timeframe that results in cost savings without compromising quality.

A hub that unites with “the spaces between"
Education does not simply happen in the classroom or lab - it is an integrated experience that happens as students interact in the hallway, dining hall, auditorium, meeting room, and fitness center. Student union projects are being designed for the future, focusing on these “spaces between” that increase the potential for spontaneous interactions that are fundamental to a holistic education. We believe that a “high tech” learning environment will never completely replace the “high touch” academic experience.

Diversity is central to the student experience
Often placed in disparate locations, diversity programs at universities are now central to student life. At the Colorado State University, Lory Student Center, the cultural richness of their diversity programs is visibly seen at the entrance through the shared commons, customized office doors, and displays of heritage art. The prominence of the diversity programs and services signals a paradigm shift in the importance of diversity on campus.

Demand for more sustainable buildings
Tomorrow’s buildings will generate more power than they consume, harvest more water than they use, and will become inseparably connected with their ecosystems. At the Case Western Reserve University, Tinkham Veale University Center, an innovative glass curtainwall was designed to address solar heat-gain and a green roof, including photovoltaic panels, was central to the design, integrating the building with nature both visually and physically.

The collection of seven projects includes:

Name: Case Western Reserve University, Tinkham Veale University Center
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Type: New construction
Size: 89,000 square feet
Programmatic spaces: The building is organized into social and cultural, meeting and event, and food and beverage functions providing intersecting, yet defined public spaces for socializing, collaborating, studying, and relaxing.
Sustainability: The building includes a 33,500-square-foot green roof with photovoltaic panels and is targeting LEED Gold certification.
Design Solution: Links previously unconnected portions of campus and offers facilities that unite and engage the university population.

Name: Colorado State University, Lory Student Center
Location: Fort Collins, Colorado
Type: Renovation and addition
Size: 220,000 square feet
Programmatic spaces: The project includes 825 seats in the main food court, 250 seats for dining in the performance venue, 800 banquet seats in the main ballroom, a student art gallery, retail tenants, meeting rooms, small and large lounges, and all diversity student programs and services.
Sustainability: The project is targeting LEED Silver certification and 80% of the new materials are comprised of recycled content.
Design Solution: Reorganizes a 1962 mid-century building and expands the program space.
Architect of Record: Aller • Lingle • Massey Architects P.C.

Name: Kings University College, Student Life Centre
Location: London, Ontario
Type: New construction
Size: 50,000 square feet
Programmatic spaces: The building includes student union offices, 500-seat auditorium, fitness and recreation areas, classrooms, student commons, a games room, campus theatre, and multi-faith space.
Sustainability: The project is targeting LEED Silver certification and was strategically designed for energy conservation and efficiency.
Design Solution: Integrated with the existing library to create new synergies between learning space and student life.

Name: Parkland College, Student Union
Location: Champaign, Illinois
Size: 108,000 square feet
Type: New construction
Programmatic spaces: The building includes admissions and records, financial services, offices for the dean of students, various student life spaces, testing and assessment rooms, a bookstore, and a career center.
Sustainability: The project is targeting LEED Silver certification and uses healthy building materials and energy efficient building systems.
Design Solution: Creates a link between three previously disconnected building wings and, for the first time, a formal and iconic entry to the campus and offering a common gathering place.

Name: San Jose State University, Student Union
Location: San Jose, California
Size: 242,000 square feet
Type: Renovation and addition
Programmatic spaces: The two-phase project provides food services, large event rooms, ballroom and meeting rooms, outdoor dining and socialization spaces, a bookstore, an auditorium/theater, a recreation center and lounge spaces, Spartan shops, a multicultural center, and offices.
Sustainability: The project is targeting LEED Gold certification and includes water-efficient fixtures, a “cool” roof, and recycled water for toilet flushing.
Design Solution: Completely transforms the 1960s Ernest Kump concrete monolith at the oldest institution of higher learning in California.

Name: University of Alaska Fairbanks, Wood Center
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
Size: 50,000 square feet
Type: Renovation and addition
Programmatic spaces: The new colorful dining hall adds 500 seats to the existing 180 seats, making it a premier destination on campus. At the ground level, a new coffee house is visible through the landscape and connected to the upper level dining with a grand stair.
Sustainability: The high performance envelope was instrumental in achieving a 66% reduction in modeled energy use that meets the 2030 Challenge for energy use reduction.
Design Solution: Designed on two levels that overlook southern views, the project repositions the building with a significant increase in transparency and color.
Delivery: The first higher education project completed through P3 delivery, in the State of Alaska, the Wood Center was finished in 28 months from design through construction.

Name: University of Massachusetts Lowell, University Crossing
Location: Lowell, Massachusetts
Size: 230,000 square feet
Type: Renovation and new construction
Programmatic spaces: The project goes beyond a traditional student union - it includes student clubs and organizations, retail dining and food service, meeting and conference space, lounges, a bookstore, health and counseling, career services, welcome center, registrar, bursar, financial aid, information technology services, police department, and parking.
Sustainability: The project is targeting LEED Silver certification and reused some existing structures that were integrated into the new building.
Design Solution: Centralizes student life functions for three campuses in one location. The university acquired a centrally located, decommissioned hospital and reused some of the newer buildings and designed 145,000 square feet of new construction.

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