College Planning & Management

MAY 2013

College Planning & Management is the information resource for professionals serving the college and university market. Covering facilities, security, technology and business.

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INTERIORS UPDATING FOR ACADEMICS was selected to design the two-story building. Pursuing USGBC LEED Silver certification, the distinctive building adds a new landmark that nonetheless respects the character of the college's legacy structures. The contemporary environment within it incorporates the latest trends in building design, amenities, and learning technologies that instill both comfort and functionality. On one side of the building, the plan arranges 10 760- to 1,040-sq.-ft classrooms along the outside wall on two levels to benefit from natural daylighting through nearly full-height tinted windows with a low-E glazing. These present a bright, comfortable environment instilled by the high ceilings, large windows equipped with a window-shading system, and direct/indirect pendant lighting. While the classroom floors are linoleum, carpet was installed in the office spaces. Arts and an Auditorium The two sides of the building are divided by a 3,000-sq.-ft., two-story Gallery whose interior walls are an exhibition backdrop equipped with a strip system to display student artwork on one side. The opposing wall is brick, with repetitive offset elements that allow shadows to play off a large double-slope skylight. This feature admits generous daylighting into both levels, which have clusters of contemporary upholstered seating. A monumental staircase connects the two levels along this central spine. Carpet was selected for the upper level atrium space, with polished concrete used at grade level. The Office of Academic Affairs, conference areas, and English and Humanities department offices, ranging from 120 sq. ft. up to 180 sq. ft. in size, are logically massed on the two levels. Gibbs Auditorium is the dominant space on the grade level of the Fine Arts side of the building. The outside wall of the auditorium facing the atrium comprises the exhibition backdrop for the Gallery. Also included on this side of the building are the Art and Acting studios and the Chorus room, all associated with SMC's new Fine Arts major. The dual-purpose lecture/performance auditorium presents a 3,100-sq.-ft. wood proscenium stage and backstage area, dressing rooms, Green Room, and two shop/storage spaces. The Gibbs Auditorium has 221 theatre seats stepped in two elevations, and enough floor space to add another 30 removable seats and to accommodate wheelchair seating. Smaller classroom groups can thereby use the lower seating for closer proximity to the stage. The main stage curtain and upholstery are in the College's iconic blue color that shows well in the mix of direct and indirect lighting. The auditorium's broadloom carpet has elements of the grey walls and blue seating, along with the earth tones carried inside off the two tones of the lobby floor's polished concrete. A radial band of virgin maple girds the auditorium's seating area below 10 two-unit sets of curve-shaped sound diffusers and a catwalk system immediately above them providing access to the stage lighting and control booth. The walls are drywall in a grey finish over concrete masonry unit (CMU) construction. The 3,038-sq.-ft. lobby of the Gibbs Auditorium has served several times as an event venue. The lobby's wood ceiling, contemporary linear lighting, and use of stone play off the building's exterior wood soffitt, the earth tones of the polished concrete floor, and the brick and stone exterior and interior. Sustainable Features and Finishes In step with LEED criteria, many of the finishes and materials were sourced within 500 miles of the project. One might have expected the quality engrained 66 COLLEGE PLANNING & MANAGEMENT / MAY 2013 in this building and LEED certification to have commanded a higher cost, but recessionary pressures drove down pricing to within competitive levels. In fact, the entire materials, color palette, and finish specifications were achieved as originally proposed by the architects without resorting to alternates to stay within the $11M budget. CPM Jim Ladesich is a freelance writer specializing in design and construction topics. WWW.PLANNING 4EDUCATION.COM

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