The Wire @ WPI Online
VOLUME 12, NO. 2     JANUARY 1999

71,000-square-foot, Turreted Building Will be True Campus Center

Campus Center Plan

A three-story, windowed turret that mirrors the architecture of nearby Higgins House will be the focal point of WPI's first campus center. The 71,000-square-foot building, the largest on campus, will be constructed in the area between Higgins Laboratories and Alumni Gym. Groundbreaking for the 18-month project is expected to take place in the fall of 1999. Total cost is projected at $17.24 million ($12.71 million for construction alone).

The new building has been sited as close to the physical center of the campus as possible, says Janet Begin Richardson, assistant vice president for student affairs. "It will visually connect Higgins House and its handsome gardens to the campus and will also face Reunion Plaza, tying together the academic, residential and recreational corridors of the campus."

Building and landscape plans are in place and artists' renderings and sketches have been prepared. Members of the Campus Center Committee are working with architects and engineers from Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott to fine-tune the shape and determine the final layout and facilities for the structure.

"Campus centers are in many ways like malls," says Richardson, who chairs the committee. "They require visible access to all areas. It's a place where people want to see and be seen." With that in mind, the facility will provide open, accessible spaces for a variety of offices and services. The design includes two front entrances: the two-story, Quadrangle side and the three-story lawn side. The large windows in the turret will draw light into the heart of the building, which will feature a marketplace-type bookstore, an information desk, a coffee/ breakfast shop, a food court, banking facilities, a post office, meeting rooms and lounges, administrative offices, and space for student organizations. All catering will originate in the campus center, which will also include dining rooms and a large multipurpose room suitable for banquets.

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Last modified: Tue Jun 8 11:05:58 EDT 1999