Award of Merit Higher Education/Research: Longwood University, Upchurch Student Center
Upchurch Student Center at Longwood University
Award of Merit
Owner: Longwood University
General Contractor: Skanska USA Building
Lead Design Firm: Perkins+Will
Signature|Design Architect: Franck & Lohsen
Structural Engineer: Stewart Engineering
Civil Engineer: Draper Aden Associates
MEP Engineer: Integral Group
Subcontractors: Varney Inc. (Electrical); MH Masonry & Associates (Masonry); Atlantic Constructors Inc. (Mechanical & Plumbing); Faulconer Construction Co. (Sitework)
As the largest non-residence hall project in Longwood’s history, the $32.5-million, 84,000-sq-ft building was a high-profile effort in more ways than one. Located in the middle of a bustling campus, the student union serves as an architectural centerpiece by capping two major academic quadrangles and joining historic areas to more recent expansions. Isolating the jobsite from Day 1 allowed the multifaceted construction effort to unfold safely with minimal disruption to campus activities, the project team says. The team also scheduled utility tie-ins for student break periods and maintained quiet hours during pre-exam study weeks. The schedule also incorporated longer full work stoppages for major campus events, including graduation weekend and the 2016 U.S. vice-presidential debates.
Trees and components of old residence halls removed to make way for the new building were repurposed as wall trim and wood flooring. The design and construction teams used 3D models to fine-tune complex stone shapes, bands and other north facade and portico features as well as intricate detailing on column capitals.
Throughout construction, the campus community was engaged in the project. Team members adapted a perimeter fence so that students could display approximately 150 hand-crafted banners depicting various aspects of their journeys through Longwood, from orientation to graduation. More than 27 months after breaking ground, the new student center was completed on time and on budget.