Grewcock Student Union
TMP Architecture, Inc.
Project of Distinction Winner 2010 Education Design Showcase

Project Fact Sheet
Facility Use: College/University 4-Year Institution
Project Type: New Construction
Category: Student Unions (College Only)
Location: Hillsdale, MI
District/Inst.: Hillsdale College
   Richard Pewe Vice President
Completion Date: December 2007
Design Capacity: 1,720 students
Enrollment: 1,200 students
Gross Area: 54,000 sq.ft.
Space per pupil: 32 sq.ft.
Site size: 1 acres
Cost per student: $11,628
Cost per sq.ft.: $371.00
Total project cost: $20,000,000
Building construction cost: $13,500,000
Site development cost: $1,400,000
Furniture & equipment cost: $1,700,000
Fees and other: $3,100,000
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Grewcock Student Union – Hillsdale College


The new 54,000 square foot Hillsdale College Grewcock Student Union provides a campus ‘community center’ for students of this private Midwestern liberal arts institution.  It is designed to be a place of unity for students to meet, relax, study, play, dine and congregate.


Goals & Visions

Formerly, the college lacked an identifiable student union, and student services were widely scattered across campus.  The new 2-story union responds to this need by consolidating services and amenities into one facility.  The union’s inviting design complements the historic character of adjacent Civil War-era Central Hall, and is built into the hill at the east side of the main campus green, defining the edge of this public space.


Planning Process
The college’s design committee was comprised of students, student activities and organizations’ directors, administrators, facility management staff and both Deans of Students.  Together with the architectural design team, this group conducted on-campus observation and ad-hoc ‘interviews’ with students regarding their day-to-day use of the existing dining and lounge facilities.  Pros and cons were recorded and acknowledged in the development of the building program.  Several departments and functions, previously scattered among disparate college properties, were scheduled to come together in the new student union.  While all participants recognized the positive benefits of this consolidation, differences between current habits and preferences of these groups created challenges for the design team to solve.  Food service is the largest of the groups, and security became a significant challenge. The college committee wanted to make the dining room space available for student study space in-between meal times – an option the existing dining facility did not provide.  A large retractable folding wall separates the servery from the seating areas, thus allowing the dining room to be used for studying during food-service preparation and cleaning.  The campus bookstore, relocated from its previous home in a basement, presented delivery and security challenges of its own.  The architectural design team crafted a unified solution to satisfy all users. 


Site Considerations
Hillsdale College was founded in 1854, and is proud of its historic 1875 Central Hall, standing at the heart of the main campus quad.  The traditional character of that building guides the college’s development of new and remodeling projects.  Within the campus infrastructure, current technology is in place for energy efficiency, sustainability and access to information and communication systems.  The location of the Grewcock Student Union completes the east side of the campus quadrangle, and provides a barrier-free location from which to observe the wooded ‘graduation hill.’  While dormitories are the students’ bedrooms, the Union provides living, dining and recreation room functions during their school years at the campus. 


Meeting Programmatic Needs
Within the new union, students have a variety of study and recreation spaces from which to choose, varying in formality and activity level.  The traditional formal lounge features soft seating, study tables, built-in bookcases and a large fireplace.  The café can host small-scale musical or poetry presentations while the TV lounge boasts a 100-inch flat display with a 6-channel surround-sound system.  The recreation lounge includes billiards, foosball and video-gaming stations complete with sound-domes to isolate game noise.


The lower floor features the expansive dining hall complete with a free-form servery, kitchen support spaces, a variety of table and booth seating options, an isolatable small dining room for group meetings, and beautiful views.  A walkout patio connects the entire east side to the wooded hillside beyond.  Mailboxes for all students, organizations and clubs are housed along the lower corridor where they can be accessed on the way to or from meals. 


The upper floor has grade entry from the quad to the west and is highlighted by the central two-story commons, a café, bookstore, meeting spaces and offices.  The campus bookstore, formal lounge and conference room, offices for student publications and organizations, cyber café, wireless technology and recreation spaces all make the union a truly inviting and busy campus gathering place.  The building has a traditional feel, does not short-change the 21st century students, and includes the technology to which they’re accustomed.  This technology is present, yet not pervasive, with wireless Internet access and flat screen monitors providing campus schedules, dining hall menus and television news, integrated throughout public spaces.


Environmental Considerations
Environmental stewardship and operational cost-efficiency guided an upgrade of the campus’ central boiler and chiller systems to high-efficiency, and included the extension of the distribution tunnel to this new building.  Energy-recovery systems were incorporated with air-handling and dining exhaust equipment to reduce energy consumption.  Dining services have gone tray-less to reduce food waste, and a garbage compactor is an integral part of ongoing building operations, reducing the volume of landfill waste.  Motion-sensors are incorporated with lighting to reduce energy use when spaces are unoccupied.  Materials specified and selected were evaluated for recycled content and recycle-ability.  All sealants and coatings are low-VOC off gassing, linoleum flooring is organic-based, carpeting is 100% recyclable, and wood trims are from rapidly renewable resources.  Exterior finishes are durable and low-maintenance to help reduce long-term operating costs.  Brick veneer, aluminum-clad windows and fiberglass trim elements require little upkeep.  All of these systems and materials were carefully considered for reliability, durability, cost-effectiveness, and their contribution to the efficiency of the college’s long-term operation and maintenance costs.


Special Challenges & Solutions
With the site approachable from all sides, a limited combined delivery and services access area was created at the north end, screening it from views at both the quad and patio levels.  With over 50,000 square feet of program space, the two-story solution nestles mechanical and service functions into the hill on the lower level, supporting the open and interconnected dining and lounge spaces for students’ use. 


The open central commons stairs, and perimeter areas along the east lounge spaces, create acoustical interconnectedness between floors giving users a sense of activity throughout the building.  Soft seating, carpet and ceilings temper acoustics to reduce noise levels.  Windows at the upper level provide views to the woods while serving as clerestory natural light sources to the dining areas below.  The bookstore entrance terminates a strong circulation spine extending south through the covered colonnade, in front of the library, to the academic buildings at the front quadrangle.  Student and visitor orientation is quickly established with all major functions accessed from this simple primary circulation line.


Materials Choices
The College Design Committee desired a t
raditional campus character for the new union to complement 1875 Central Hall.  Masonry detailing, arched windows and pitched roofs are in harmony with surrounding campus and community buildings.  Cast stone wall caps and medallions bring the 21st century building comfortably into the supporting role for the 19th century campus center.  Landscape walls separate pedestrian from service areas, and extend the masonry of the building to the north with special, masonry shapes and piers with cast stone caps and finials.


Inside, rich wood trims and wainscot, five stone fireplaces, linoleum flooring in traffic areas, wood flooring at the café, pendant lighting and a unique arched corridor ceiling make this a warm and inviting campus community environment. 


Unique Features/Innovations

The union’s tower is a vertical element that defines a point of entry for visitors and students.  It is a smaller, simpler, complementary element, paying homage to Central Hall’s large clock tower.  Adjacent to the Main entry from the quadrangle, the Union’s tower draws users in and provides natural daylight illumination of the featured life-sized bronze Winston Churchill statue prominently located adjacent to the Lobby.  This statue is one of several commissioned statues of historic statesmen – and women – comprising the Liberty Walk around the campus.


Safety & Security Considerations

Student ID cards provide access to the building’s east entry, and security for the food-service providers is controlled with monitored entry and alarmed emergency egress.  The open plan and connections between the upper and lower levels provide not only a comfortable ‘see and be seen’ environment for the students, but also create the acoustical and visible links helpful for users to feel safe when studying late.


Cost Effectiveness

Hillsdale College is proud of its heritage, and the Facilities Planning and Construction Department always focuses on operational efficiency.  The energy-efficiency of the mechanical systems, integrity of the building envelope and durability of finishes were all carefully evaluated with longevity and efficiency in mind.  The Owner, Architect and Construction Manager established an effective team that worked together to accomplish those goals in this popular and vibrant facility.

Project Description:
1) Control of Institution: Private: For Profit
2) Type of Institution: Other (Private College)


Methodology & Standards:
District/Institution Decision; First-Cost

Funding Method(s):
Primary Source: Primary Source: Private Funding
Alternative Sources: Secondary: Grants and Donations

Project Delivery Method(s):
CM At-Risk

Sustainable/Green Design:
Site Selection and Development: Site Selection
Energy Efficiency and Conservation: Building Automation/Energy Management Systems
Indoor Environmental Quality: Use of Daylighting


Associated Firms and Consultants:
Interior Design: TMP Architecture, Inc. (Meghan Boyer )
Landscape Architecture: Stephen J Rosselet Garden Design (Steve Rosselet )
Construction/Project Management: Foulke Christman Joint Venture (David Foulke)
Structural Engineer: Nehil-Sivak, PC (Tom Nehil )
Electrical Engineer: Peter Basso Associates (Jose Meijer)
Mechanical Engineer: Peter Basso Associates (Chris Young )
Civil Engineer: Driesenga & Associates (Todd Batts )
Food Service/Kitchen Consultant: EF Whitney (Ric Whitney )
Other: Furniture Consultant: Phelps Design Associates (Ron & Terri Phelps )

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