The design team for the Student Success Building – and the Metro
State faculty and staff expected to occupy the building once it is
constructed – shared their visions and goals for the new building with
each other last week at a two-day “Eco Charette and Visioning Session”
Architect Angela Feddersen Heinze of RNL, which is leading the
eight-firm design consulting group on the project, led the charette.
“This is your building,” she said. “Today we hope to hear about your
dreams for it.”
And they did. Everyone, from the students to President Stephen Jordan, shared their vision.
One vision, voiced by Vice President for Student Services Kathy
MacKay, was of the building as the “campus living room,” a warm and
welcoming focal point for students and visitors. “This building will be
the first point of contact for many students and their families.
Ideally it reflects the College’s diversity, in its many forms.”
Others described the need for a building that would be “iconic” and
provide a specific architectural identity for the College. Derrick
Haynes, director of Student Academic Success, said, “Because we have no
dorms, we must be very deliberate in building community.”
Haynes also noted the importance of “one-stop shopping” for student
services. “We’d like to be able to walk a student to the door and point
them directly to the office where they can get what they need.”
Jacqueline McLeod , faculty coordinator of the First Year Success
Program, concurred, saying the building should give students the sense
that they have easy access to all the services they need.
Students in attendance spoke about the need for study lounges and
places for students to socialize, and of many students’ keen interest
in making the building “eco-friendly.” They also said they would like
technology incorporated into the building and an eating space.
Staff from two offices that typically see long lines at certain
times of the semester – financial aid and academic advising – discussed
the need to have warm, inviting space outside their offices, as well as
the need for expandable space during crunch times such as the beginning
of the semester, and the importance of “adjacencies,” such as not
placing offices expecting lines next to each other.
Other faculty and staff members discussed such issues as
accessibility for people with disabilities, student lockers,
faculty/staff lounge or gathering space, the need for clear signage and
way-finding so students can easily access what they need.
Jordan: setting the stage
Echoing many of the sentiments
expressed by faculty and staff, in a session later in the day, Jordan
addressed the need for the building to be welcoming and bring people
in, to be a gateway into the campus, to incorporate leading-edge
technology, and to include well-planned outside space.
“Because this is the first building of what will ultimately be the
Metro State Neighborhood (of several more buildings), it needs to set
the stage,” said Jordan. “We also need to recognize that we won’t solve
all our space needs with this building.” Jordan stressed his preference
for making the building “really good inside,” over expanding it with
less attention to design details.
“This building is a unique model in that it’s being designed around
the specific academic goal of retention of students through the first
year,” he said.
The two-day session is only the beginning of information gathering,
as RNL will return Oct. 20-23 to interview future residents of the
Student Success Building. To learn more about plans for the Student
Success Building, visit Metro State Rising.
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