Denison University Prepares for Major Campus-Transforming Construction
Posted: February 1, 2001
Preliminary architect's drawing of Denison's new life science building as viewed looking west over the new campus commons and parking garage. The new building will sit roughly between existing Higley Hall to the south (left) and Olin Hall to the north.Art courtesy of Graham Gund Architects.
Beginning this March, Denison University will embark on its most ambitious construction program in more than a quarter century, with work commencing on a new "Campus Commons" to be framed by a new life science building and the Morgan Center, for student, faculty and alumni-related activities. About four acres of new usable real estate will be created atop College Hill, to the north of the present Academic Quadrangle. Beneath the new commons will be an underground parking garage for some 300 cars. Total anticipated cost for the project is $59,750,000, a figure approved by the Denison Board of Trustees at their winter meeting (Jan. 19-20, 2001). Construction is expected to take about three years and will include significant upgrades to campus roads and related infrastructures, and improving pedestrian and vehicular traffic patterns.
The two new buildings will define the Campus Commons at its east and west ends. The new Burton D. Morgan Center to the east will provide a new point of entry for campus visitors and will house a variety of academic and administrative functions, including: the Career Development Center; a faculty lounge; offices for Alumni Affairs, University Resources and Public Affairs, and Organizational Studies; and a host of technology-rich classrooms and seminar spaces. It will be physically linked to both nearby Blair Knapp Hall (an academic building) and the new underground parking garage beneath the Commons. Campus Security and Safety offices may also be relocated in the new underground facility, permitting access to emergency vehicles and vans.
Architect's rendering of the new Burton D. Morgan Center looking east across the new Campus Commons. To the far right is Slayter Hall (showing proposed exterior renovations to the back of the building), and in the distance on the right is Knapp Hall with its new overhead walkway to the Morgan Center.Art courtesy of Graham Gund Architects.
At the western edge of the Commons, the new life science building will be built to take over the functions currently housed in Higley Hall, a building erected in 1941 when biology, as both a discipline and an academic department at the College, was much smaller. The new space will provide greatly expanded facilities that reflect advances in molecular biology and biochemistry.
Between the two buildings will be the new Commons, a centrally located open greenspace of about two acres. Other Denison buildings on the Academic Quadrangle will have views onto this space, while the Commons itself will offer a transition to the north slope of College Hill, giving access to the downhill athletics and recreation facilities.
This building project is part of an overall Campus Master Plan created in 1999 by the firm of Graham Gund Architects of Cambridge, Mass. That plan is the latest revision of campus planning documents dating back to the early 1900s, when Denison first retained Frederick Law Olmsted & Sons, landscape architects and designers of New York City's Central Park.
The Albert M. Higley Co. of Cleveland will serve as construction managers for the project. The Higley firm has been involved in the construction of 21 buildings or building additions at Denison since 1949.
Overhead view of Denison's proposed Campus Commons. The area will be located between the new Life Science Building and Morgan Center, directly north of (behind) Slayter Hall. In this view, the current Academic Quad is at the bottom (south), and Deeds Field is just out of view at the top (north).Art courtesy of Graham Gund Architects.
Highlights of the Denison project include:
A new connecting road north of the current North Road will blend into the contour of the hillside and reconnect with the residential North Quad (formerly Fraternity Row) beyond Olin Science Hall. Most parking behind Doane Administration Building (and south of the Academic Quad) will be removed, allowing for two-way traffic around the south side of the upper campus. In addition, the inner campus road behind the Shorney Hall student residence will be reconfigured to permit access to Denison's West Quad without leaving campus. A new, more prominent Burg Street entrance also is planned.
Link to a related story by Mike Lafferty in the Columbus Dispatch.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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