Davidson College wants to invest nearly $120 million in capital improvement projects over the next decade in order to make its campus more integrated among different academic departments.Putting similar-minded departments under one roof will allow for more collaboration, which will better prepare students for today’s workplace, department officials said.“Davidson graduates lead and serve in an increasingly interconnected, rapidly changing world,” Davidson College President Carol Quillen said in a statement. “To stay ahead of these changes, we need to shift how we work, both physically and intellectually.”In the past, departments have had their own buildings. While that helped the college form distinct departmental identities and create specialized teaching spaces, it discouraged collaboration between departments. The proposed changes on campus will begin this year, with the construction/renovation of six academic buildings over the next decade.The capital improvement plan will create a neighborhood of academic buildings with flexible spaces and common areas that allow for the exchange and generation of ideas across traditional academic boundaries. “We’re conscious of the fact that things change, and want to provide some flexible space for needs that we can’t predict precisely, but are confident will arise,” director of facilities David Holthouser said.Faculty and staff will be grouped in these facilities by the resources they need and their potential interactions with others, he said. For instance, the psychology, chemistry and biology departments may have the same location. “The vision of the integration is to create an environment where collisions happen between people, faculty and students,” biology professor Verna Case said. “This space will work as a kind of synergy creator. It works to increase the amount of discussions, conversations and collaborations.”The changes will also create additional space for faculty members outside of these natural departmental clusters. For instance, an artist who happens to be working on a piece of art of the human body may want to spend time with biologists on campus for a while, Holthouser said. Meanwhile, community and flexible spaces such as a café, artist studios and learning labs will be placed within these newly designed buildings to encourage visits from individuals throughout campus and in the town.Holthouser said the timing of the renovations is ideal given that the college needs new space because the student body has grown to 2,000. Plus, he said, it complements other campus priorities, such as the modernization of the chemistry department, which is in “substandard facilities,” he said.“We have the opportunity at this time in the college’s history to address all those needs at once, and believe that doing so will strengthen Davidson for a higher education landscape that is rapidly evolving,” Holthouser said. Holthouser said the Duke Endowment’s $45 million gift will give the college a “tremendous boost” in raising the funds needed to implement the college’s vision.He added that officials are counting on their traditional constituencies – alumni, friends, foundations and corporations – to also support the effort.“This bold campus plan will enable our exceptional faculty to create a curriculum centered on students doing original work,” Quilen said. “It will support our dedicated staff as they help students build bridges between learning and life."
Friday, Feb. 22, 2013
Big changes coming to Davidson College
Some Components of Davidson College’s 10-Year Plan Project: E.H. Little Library and Center for Teaching and Learning Renovation Cost: $1 million • 2,200-square-foot interior uplift • Consolidation of resource personnel from across campus • Inclusion of tutorial centers and group study space Project: Martin Science Renovation/New Construction New Construction Cost: $40 million to $50 million • 105,000 to 115,00 square feet • Adjacent to Martin Building Renovation Cost: $15 million to $20 million • 27,816 square feet Project: Integrating Dana & Watson Renovation Cost: $30 million to $35 million • 84,078-square-foot renovation • 5,000-square-foot atrium addition • Creation of rooftop observatory Project: Preyer Building Renovation Renovation cost: $3 million to $4 million • 9,586-square-foot renovation • 1,000-square-foot addition Project: Incorporate Sloan Music Center Adaptation Cost: $300,000 • Adaptation of classroom space Project: Chambers Building opportunity Adaptation cost: $3 million to $4 million • Adaptation of space • Creation of topic institutes whereby people choose to co-locate around a topic • Lessen per-classroom numbers to accommodated revised furnishings and technology
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