Thinking “Inside the Box”

Immaculata University and Architect Team develop a new Student Center through the adaptation of prototype design to meet the challenging time frame and budget.

Understanding the need for a social student gathering space, Immaculata University revisited an old facilities master plan which had proposed a new Student Center at a cost well over the proposed budget.  With the addition of several new student dorms on the south side of campus, the need for student gathering space had shifted to that side of campus.  The University challenged Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates (CRA Architects), who was the architect for the Student Housing units to develop a unique approach to provide for the student need, meet the budget and abbreviated schedule.

CRA Architects developed a solution for the new Student Center that utilized the shell of the new Student Housing building and provided for the program space for the students.  The prototype design footprint was already approved through local planning which expedited the schedule, and by working with the contractor for the housing units, CRA Architects and the Contractor were able to develop a plan that met their budget.

“When we broke ground last spring, I was excited to begin building our newest addition to campus,” said Barbara Lettiere ‘72, president of Immaculata

“This new facility will provide our deserving students a place to be together and to enjoy each other’s company. We are very grateful to the IHM Congregation for their encouragement and support. The new Student Center is a tribute to their almost 100 years of service and dedication to Immaculata. Many of our alumni contributed to the funding for this building. It has been a long time coming, but it was certainly worth the wait!”

The new $2 Million Student Center is an 11,000 SF, 3 story building, site adapted for the challenging sloped site.  The Student Center provides for a modern hub for socialization, recreation and relaxation.

Amenities include a fully equipped fitness center overlooking the fireplace and lounge, featuring 34 exercise stations that utilize modern fitness equipment enhanced by personal technology options. A game room offers two gaming stations, a 16-foot shuffleboard, ping-pong table and pool table. Students will have the opportunity to host movie nights, theatrical performances and other activities in a multi-purpose room that is equipped with new generation technology. For dining options, students can choose from prepared meals provided by IU’s dining partner, Parkhurst; a snack bar featuring an open grill; and a self-service counter for beverages and milkshakes. As part of an energy conservation focus, the building employs hydraulic elevators, a highly efficient heat pump system, LED lighting and occupancy sensors. The building is integrated with all the modern technology needs to support our students.

“This IHM Student Center has the hallmark of community written all over it,” Sister Mary Ellen commented. “It has been designed specifically to foster the growth of community. It is in community where we discover the capacity, our own capacity, for goodness, and where we equally discover and appreciate one another’s capacity for goodness.”

Today’s Immaculata University is a vibrant coeducational community of active and engaged learners. Established in 1920 and guided by the servant leadership tradition of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the University empowers graduates for lifelong success, leadership and service. Immaculata offers more than 70 undergraduate and graduate programs and is home to 23 NCAA athletic teams. The expansive suburban campus is located in renowned Chester County, PA, 30 miles west of Philadelphia.

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