Mount Wachusett Community College, Bemis Student Center

Gardner, Massachusetts

Under existing conditions at Mount Wachusett Community College, social and study spaces were lacking. The commuting student body had to sit in corridors, try to study in dining halls, or go off campus during class breaks and lose focus on school work. The college sought to create a space that supported student well-being and establish a community for what is inherently a ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$570.00CITATIONBronze CitationFEATURED IN2018 Educational Interiors ShowcaseINTERIOR CATEGORYStudent Centers/Service Areas population. The challenge was to find a way to economically maximize impact, a critical part of making the project viable for the client.
An earlier master plan outlined $18.6 million in renovations; the construction of the new student center was listed as the last phase, despite being the most important phase for student well-being.
A new plan reversed the order of priority, and a $3 million initial investment became an immediately appreciated step toward supporting students. It created swing space for future renovations while addressing deferred maintenance and code deficiencies.
Understanding not just the task at hand, but also the reasons behind the task, resulted in a project that meets not only the college’s initial goal but also longer-term campus initiatives.