Interdisciplinary Science Building Planning Progresses

| October 13, 2014

The next phase of needed planning for the future Interdisciplinary Science Building is underway. During the next three months, students, faculty and staff will build upon the architectural planning program developed for the building last year.

The latest phase of this much-needed building officially started with a project kick-off orientation and reception on Sept. 29 in the East Academic Building.

Webster University recently procured architectural services from CannonDesign to work with the University to verify that the existing program document is up-to-date and accurate, develop a schematic design, and assist with the preparation and submission of a conditional use permit which is required by the City of Webster Groves.

“The Interdisciplinary Science Building will be a signature for Webster’s next 100 years,” President Beth Stroble said. “Hands-on inquiry and student-driven research are not new to us and have been part of our science curriculum since the earliest days of Webster. Now we just need the science building to support and fuel that tradition into our next century.”

Provost Julian Schuster said Webster University has had a long-term plan to upgrade its facilities. Buildings recently upgraded or completed in the past five years include Webster Hall, the East Academic Building, campuses in Vienna and Bangkok, and the Columbia and Charleston locations. Future projects include the expansion of the downtown Gateway campus into the Arcade Building, the renovation of the Sverdrup Building, and planned improvements to the Kansas City location.

“However, nothing will be more defining than the Interdisciplinary Science Building,” Schuster said. “And it is not a building that we are erecting. We are building the dream for our next century.”

Designers Meet with Future Building’s Constituents

Cannon Design, William Tao and Associates, Faith Group, Webb Engineering, David Mason and Associates, SWT Design, Spellman Brady, Kathy Williams and Associates, AcousticControl and Kulhmann-Leavitt were named as the designers for the new building.

Meetings are being held with representatives from various groups in the community. During these meetings, specific goals will be set to help guide the overall design of the building, such as determining how much space should be used for classrooms, laboratories, offices and shared spaces. So far, recommendations from students, faculty and staff include increasing laboratory sizes, adding additional testing rooms, building secured backpack storage areas, and building more “collaborative” areas with white boards and smart boards for students.

Students, faculty and staff will have other opportunities in the coming months to help plan the building, from sharing what they want to see in the finished project to guiding architects and designers where they think specific spaces should be located.

Workshops Inform Creation of Architectural Program Document

The initial phase of building planning began in 2012 with a series of workshops to create the interdisciplinary science building architectural program document. Webster University worked with the firms of Hastings+Chivetta Architects and HERA, Inc. (laboratory planners) to collaborate on architectural programming for the interdisciplinary science building from Dec. 10, 2012 to June 6, 2013. Architectural programming is the thorough and systematic evaluation of the interrelated values, goals, facts, and needs of a client’s organization, facility users, and the surrounding community.

There were a series of collaborative programming workshops in which Webster University community members met with the architects and laboratory planners to identify the project goals, develop detailed space requirements and adjacencies, and analyze the building’s site. Building design was not executed during this programming phase.

Specific guidelines for the building have already been set, the architects said at the introductory meeting held on Sept. 29. The new building must be home to programs that include departments that will foster an academically diverse environment; have large spaces in the building that can support campus-wide and community events, interdepartmental socialization and interdisciplinary collaboration; and has a building design that is environmentally responsible.

Programs that have already been identified for the Interdisciplinary Science Building include biological sciences, nursing, nurse anesthesia, anthropology, sociology, psychology, International Languages and Culture, the Institute for Human Rights, and the College of Arts & Sciences dean’s office.

The University is scheduled to complete the program verification and schematic design process and submit the conditional use permit to the City of Webster Groves in December. After the conditional use permit is approved, the next steps will be to proceed with design development, construction document, and construction administration services.

Category: Campus Master Plan Process, Employee News, Faculty, St. Louis Campus News

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