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07-11-2012

Clarkson University Student Center Earns Design Award

Nearly two years after it opened, Clarkson University’s new Student Center continues to earn praise. The latest honor is being selected for the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) Facility Design Award of Excellence.

Clarkson University Student CenterPresented late this spring at the annual ACUI conference in Boston, the award recognizes excellence in design of college unions, as well as other student-centered campus buildings. Clarkson was one of seven award winners. Entries were judged on the facilities’ appearance as well as on the process used to arrive at the design and how the new or renovated facility affects the campus.

“As the premier professional organization in the field of student unions, ACUI’s recognition of our facility is a huge honor,” said Clarkson Dean of Students Kurt W. Stimeling. 

Receiving the award validates the collaborative and inclusive process that architects Perkins + Will used throughout the design process, he added.

This project came about after students voted in 2006 to support a new student union. The goal was to unite student programs in one building and to link the new center to the other academic buildings on campus.

In 2010, architect Perkins + Will and contractor Pizzagalli Construction delivered just that in a gleaming, glass-bridged, three-story, 60,000-square-foot student social mecca for the University’s 3,500 students.

A true student center, the facility houses study rooms and lounges, a large food service area, a cafe area with game room, conference and meeting rooms for student groups, a graduate student lounge, an international student lounge, a virtual game room, small grocery store, mail room, music practice rooms, and facilities for the student newspaper, radio station, and television station. There’s even a meditation room.

The central forum with stepped seating is Stimeling’s favorite feature.

“While incredibly dramatic in design, the forum serves multiple functions as well. Designed not only to be a circulation point through all floors of the building, the forum creates a place to stop, sit, and see (and be seen). In addition, this area created programming space for events such as comedians or speakers and to watch sports on the huge-screen TV,” he said.

In keeping with Clarkson University’s culture of excellence, the Student Center is a LEED Silver-targeted facility. This environmental showcase uses special building blocks invented by a member of the Clarkson engineering faculty. The overall material includes 20 percent recycled industrial glass. The building team and Perkins + Will also incorporated historic Potsdam sandstone inside the center in honor of the University’s roots.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/scenter.jpg .]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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