Alumni eNewsletter: Gallaudet Campus Improvement Project Updates (Archives)

Special note: A memo was sent to the campus community on Monday, October 14 informing the community of major renovations taking place on Kendall Green in the coming months.

Site preparations and the demolition of the last remaining student residence hall at the Model Secondary School for the Deaf (MSSD) will begin in November to make way for a new student residence hall. A ground-breaking ceremony will be held in November to celebrate the beginning of the long-awaited project.

The new 68,000 square foot building will provide 158 beds for MSSD students in a coeducational setting as well as 10 apartments for staff. The three-story building will provide shared common areas on the first floor. The upper two floors will be configured as two L-shaped wings that provide distinctly separate space for boys and girls. The $28M project, scheduled for student occupancy in the fall of 2016, will also include much needed landscape improvements to the athletic fields and outdoor recreation areas.

The design team of Dangermond Keane Architecture and Gaudreau Architects was selected for the project after an intensive ten-week design competition. Throughout the design competition, MSSD students, Student Life staff, and administration worked closely with three nationally recognized architectural teams to explore options for realizing the vision for MSSD students' "home away from home".

The design proposal developed by the Dangermond Keane/Gaudreau team was selected for its beautifully straight-forward approach that used DeafSpace principles as the foundation for creating exciting indoor and outdoor spaces that will enliven the living and learning experience at MSSD. Like all new building projects on the Gallaudet campus, the new residence hall will be planned and constructed to meet a LEED Silver rating for sustainability.

The second floor of College Hall is currently undergoing a modest renovation that will provide a new suite of offices for the Office of the Provost. The move to the new location, adjacent to the Office of the President, is intended to foster stronger collaboration between the provost and the university president and to enhance Academic Affairs' visibility and operational efficiency.

The Office of Academic Quality will relocate to the fourth floor of College Hall to support the Office of the Provost's daily operations. The renovation, comprised of the provost and support offices, reception area and conference facilities, are scheduled for completion by October 25. The move to College Hall will take place later this semester.

A multi-phase renovation of the Hall Memorial Building (HMB) fourth floor and portions of the third floor will begin in February 2015. Architectural drawings are currently being prepared by Studio 27 Architecture that encompass a major expansion and upgrade of Gallaudet's outdated science labs located in the northern portion of the third and fourth floors of HMB.

The Department of Psychology, currently located adjacent to the science labs on the third floor of HMB, will be relocated to the fourth floor south wing of HMB to accommodate the expanded lab facilities. The fourth floor south wing renovation will also provide shared meeting rooms available to students, faculty, and staff as well as a new office suite for the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Plans for the project include multiple design features that are intended to enhance wayfinding and opportunities for collegial interaction. Fourth floor improvements include the construction of a new corridor linking the now isolated north and south wings. A new atrium space with an open stairway and gathering areas will provide a place of connection between the third and fourth floor (near the provost's current office suite) that will serve as a university wide meeting place. Interior finishes, color, and new signage will also be coordinated to enhance wayfinding.

Construction will be phased to minimize the impact on operations. The first phase, beginning in the spring of 2015, will focus on the renovation of the fourth floor south and north wings. Departments currently located on the fourth floor, south wing will be relocated during the 2014-15 winter break prior to the start of construction. The second phase, focused on the expansion of the third floor science labs, will start in the summer of 2015. Renovation of the fourth floor lab space is planned for completion for fall 2015 classes and the third floor labs are planned for completion for spring 2016 classes.

Renovation of Peet Hall fourth and fifth floors will begin this week. The renovation will transition the use of the top two floors from student residences to offices for Gallaudet Interpreting Service, Gallaudet University Press, and the Gallaudet University Regional Centers. Under the 2022 Campus Plan, Peet Hall will be replaced with a new student residence hall in the final phase of the ten-year plan. In the meantime, given the building's flexible design and structural integrity, Peet Hall provides an ideal "swing-space" to accommodate short and long-term office space for uses displaced by on-going facility improvement projects.

Construction is scheduled to be complete by January 2015 so that planned uses are operational for the beginning of the Spring 2015 semester. The scope of renovations will provide new and improved circulation spaces and support facilities such as meeting rooms, workrooms and toilet facilities. Security systems, including key card access to the main elevator, will be designed to maintain separation between the residential and office uses in the building.

Improvements to the pedestrian and vehicular gate at 6th Street and Neal Place are underway. The new gate is scheduled to reopen for vehicular traffic within the next few weeks. Once completed, the project will significantly improve the overall appearance and function of the gateway with 24/7 key card access for pedestrians, improved university signage, and lighting that enhances the exciting changes in the Florida Avenue Market Area. The project also significantly improves vehicular access to and from the 6th Street Parking Garage point of entry.

Gallaudet University is partnering with Sustainable DC and the District's Department of Transportation to coordinate the gate improvements with a major upgrade to the 6th Street crosswalk leading to the Union Market. During the month of October, Gallaudet students will work closely with DC City staff and neighbors to construct a parklet on the west side of 6th Street directly across from Gallaudet's improved 6th and Neal Place Gate. The parklet, a park on concrete, will have large planters, traffic barriers, and outdoor furniture, a painted roadway and improved lighting. It will expand the pedestrian realm, calm traffic, and provide a shorter distance for pedestrians to cross 6th Street. The parklet, combined with the improvements to the 6th and Neal Place gate, are a significant first step toward Gallaudet's goal to better integrate the campus and surrounding community.

During the summer break, a new javelin, hammer, and discus-throwing range were completed on the east side of the football field. These improvements are some of many that have been made to Gallaudet's athletic facilities over the past few years to ensure Gallaudet's teams are able to compete with facilities that meet NCAA standards. The next phase of improvements to the east campus area will include landscape improvements centered around a new concrete walkway linking the West Virginia gate with the baseball field and Benson Circle.

The Kellogg Conference Center, operated by Flik Hotels and Conference Centers, underwent a significant renovation during the summer break. The scope of the renovation included the relocation of the Bistro dining area, a new flexible lounge/lobby space adjacent to the main ballroom as well as new lighting, finishes and furnishing throughout the first floor lobby space. The design and construction of the project was lead by Gallaudet's Business Services in partnership with Flik to meet the Conference Center's evolving client needs and keep with current design trends of the hospitality industry.

Over the next six months the university's Capital Project Planning Committee (CPPC), in collaboration with Campus Design and Planning, will update the campus space use plan. The project will consist of a room-by-room inventory of current uses and a planning process that will update the Campus Plan's near and long-term space assignment that takes into account current operational and facility conditions and university priorities.

In the coming weeks Campus Design and Planning will be working closely with CPPC members to schedule interviews and tours with deans, department chairs, and stakeholders within the administration to document the current use and condition of all campus facilities. This in-depth review will be used to validate and update the university's space inventory.

During the summer of 2012, the public spaces within all of Gallaudet's five existing student residence hall buildings were renovated to enhance the student life experience in all buildings to coincide with the opening of the LLHR6. The renovation work that removed walls, re-oriented building entries, improved lighting, interior finishes and furnishings, in accordance with DeafSpace design principles, has improved the student experience and encourages social interaction.

Last month both the DC and Virginia chapters of the American Institute of Architecture recognized the LLHR6 project for its innovation and excellence in design. The project was designed through an inclusive DeafSpace process that engaged over thirty student residents and Residence Life staff in multiple design workshops that were the creative basis for the award-winning designs. Congratulations to all of the students and dorm staff who contributed their wisdom and creative energies, and to the design architects at Studio 27 Architects who so faithfully and skillfully translated the student and staff ideas into architecture.

Posted: 16 Oct 2014

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