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Residence hall designed for connections, efficiency

Pacific Universitys new dorm will maximize social space


by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Project architect Joren Bass said there are three staircases in Pacifics newest residence hall, and there will likely be an art wall in the background of the main one. Right now, visitors need hard hats and orange vests to get into Pacific University’s newest residence hall.

But by August, students will be carting pieces of home into a newly finished 60,000-square-foot building - likely through the main entrance and up the grand staircase, which according to project architect Joren Bass, will be wide enough to stand and chat on.

The chat-friendly stair width is just one of many details designed to promote gathering, meeting and socializing, from the spacious kitchens and lounges to window seats in hallways and study tables in the laundry rooms.

“It used to be just about housing students, but now a big part of what goes into a residence hall is about central spaces to get students out of their rooms,” said Bass. “Your first two years, it’s all about socialization and your last two years are about retention because people who are socializing and connecting with other people and the campus are more likely to stay in school and do better.”by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Project architect Joren Bass said there are three staircases in Pacifics newest residence hall, and there will likely be an art wall in the background of the main one.

At a university where students often praise the small size for the close relationships it fosters — but chide it for the stunted social activity compared to larger universities — chances to mingle, large and small, will help create the college experience many high schoolers dream about.

In order to ensure the residence hall will be finished by July 31, Bass said, the project is on an “aggressive schedule” with as many as 130 workers on site at a time, from both Mahlum Architects and Walsh Construction.

Similar projects usually take about six to nine months to design and a year to construct, said Bass, who worked on Pacific’s Gilbert and Burlingham halls, the newest housing buildings. The new hall’s design and construction, however, will be completed in about a year total.

by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Bricks help match the new building to the campus existing pallet, but cedar accents near entrances give a welcoming feeling, Bass said.Freshmen and sophomores benefitting from the speedy assembly will likely not even notice many of the stylish attributes helping facilitate Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

Bass said view-killers like pipes, plumbing and vents are largely hidden within the construction. “We want to keep the building looking as clean as possible.”

The heat recovery ventilation system saves energy by exchanging heat between inbound and outbound air, he said.

And windows are placed throughout the structure to make use of daylight and help students feel less enclosed while walking through corridors.

“Whether you’re in a hallway or lounge or kitchen, students will always be able to look and see daylight,” Bass said.

Room heaters automatically turn off when windows open, an energy-saving measure absent in older buildings such as the adjacent Clark Hall, built in 1966, where there’s no adjustability with old boiler system heaters, Bass said.

The four-story structure will house 200 students and will support the increase of Pacific’s undergraduate population of 1,783 to 2,000 by 2020.by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Workers are starting on the top floor and working their way down, Bass said, that way they dont have to work over finished areas.

The new residence hall sets the groundwork for future campus housing, and could complement a mirroring dormitory on the grassy lawn to the north that would allow for a courtyard between the two, if the need ever arose.

“We hope to deliver a building with the bones to last 100 years,” Bass said.