University of Maine, Wells Commons Conference Center

Orono, Maine

The renovation of this dining facility needed to include an up-to-date dining hall, servery and kitchen, as well as second-floor conference space and a "late night" campus market. The original two-story building was unoccupied and in a prime campus location, convenient to pedestrians and vehicles.

Before renovation, Wells ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$183.00FEATURED IN2009 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYRenovation was an outdated dining hall with poor internal circulation; inadequate daylighting; inefficient mechanical/electrical/plumbing, lighting systems, insulation, windows, kitchen operations and equipment; and no connection to outdoor space.

Architectural improvements included a new addition on the north side of the building, enabling dedicated access to the renovated first-floor dining hall and a separate lobby/entrance to the renovated and expanded second-floor conference facility. The new glazed pre-function hallway outside the conference room provides views to the campus and athletic facilities. The straightforward brick architectural expression of the existing building was used as a backdrop for the glass and zinc addition. Another glazed open space was added outside the second-floor conference meeting rooms. This space provides views to the campus and athletic facilities.

To further solve circulation and outdoor connection problems, existing grade changes were removed at the ground level. This was done by adding a large, multi-restaurant retail food operation with a loading dock and outdoor seating. In response to a survey of student behavior and preferences, a campus market and retail bakery are zoned for late-night operations.

The building has received LEED silver certification.