As institutions strive to attract and retain the best and brightest students they are facing ever increasing competition from not only “bricks and mortar” institutions, but also from new online options. Perhaps the single greatest difference a bricks and mortar institution can offer is the collegiate experience. Campus life facilities promote this experience by serving as a social hub that creates a unifying and defining culture. These facilities must serve a wide variety of needs and uses to not only meet the program requirements, but to maximize the return on limited funding. To do this they must be able to provide the following:
Multi-Functional Flexible Space
From night clubs to study spaces the occupancy of these spaces varies throughout the course of a day and throughout the year. The mechanical and electrical systems must be able to accommodate this wide range of occupancies in a relatively short period of time. Systems must be able to operate efficiently at part load conditions and still meet the demands at peak occupancies. They must allow for discreet temperature, humidity and lighting control to follow the specific occupancy requirements.
Innovative Energy Efficient Designs
Energy efficient designs are a benefit to both the operating budget as well as the sustainable vision of an institution. They represent a tangible integration between the physical infrastructure and the written mission. They are an opportunity to reinforce the sustainable commitments of the institution in a visible manner.
Implementation of Scalable Technology Systems
The ability of the facility to reliably provide connectivity for a varied occupancy and demand is paramount in facilitating collaboration, socialization and individual learning. This also requires the ability to accommodate the latest technologies so that the building systems remain relevant over the course of time.
Integration with Facility Architecture
The building systems must work in harmony with the architecture to create an aesthetically pleasing space that students want to be in. They can also be mutually supportive of one another in that the building architecture can be part of the systems serving the building. Natural ventilation systems, thermal chimneys and daylighting can all be part of the symbiotic relationship between the building and its systems.
All of these characteristics contribute to the holistic mission of campus life facilities; to provide a significant return on investment by providing highly flexible spaces serving a multitude of needs while supporting the lifestyle and missions of the institution. They are a significant part of the differential collegiate experience that every institution strives to deliver.
If you need assistance in understanding more about campus life facilities and their role within the context of the collegiate experience, as well as the systems needed to support this function, please do not hesitate to contact Michael Rader, PE at (717) 845-7654 or email@example.com.