The original Student Center at Stephen F. Austin State University was built more than 60 years ago and has been added on several times over the years. The oldest part of the existing structure was demolished to make room for the new 94,000-square-foot, three-level building. An atrium adjoins the remaining 126,000-square-foot existing building that was ASSOCIATED FIRMSasaki AssociatesCOST PER SQ FT$127.27FEATURED IN2010 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYStudent Centers/Service Areas partially as part of the overall project.
The Student Center is at the end of a major axis; the campus library is at the opposite end of the central spine of the campus. The project team explored a few sites contiguous to the existing facilities. It was determined that demolishing the oldest part of the existing building provided the best option to add the new building.
The prominent location of the student center on the main entry to the campus has Vista Drive on one side, and the main campus mall on the other side of the building. To further enhance the pedestrian-friendly aspects of campus, the Alumni Drive that bisected the continuity of the pedestrian movement to the Student Center was closed and turned into an attractive pedestrian plaza at the main Student Center.
The other major entry for campus visitors and the community was situated opposite the plaza on Vista Drive. These two main entries to the building were connected via a three-story atrium. This design incorporated a new clock tower, which has a glassed-in area that illuminates with LED lighting to announce school victories and special occurrences.
The exterior masonry was selected to blend in the adjacent buildings and the existing facility while updating the visual appearance of its exterior elevations. A new pedestrian mall was created to encourage student traffic circulation around the new facility.