The College had a long-term vision of creating a destination servery, dining area and expanded Russell Day Art Gallery for the student population. This meant renovating an existing and outdated gathering space already in use by students and:
- Replacing an antiquated food service line with a contemporary Bistro.
- Creating formal cafeteria, socializing space, informal individual and group studio areas including a mezzanine and outdoor balcony.
- Remodeling and enlarging the art gallery.
- Creating outdoor gathering / circulation nodes.
- Converting building heating system from central campus steam to hot water supplied by localized boilers.
- Project funded 95% by student fees.
S.M. Stemper Architects used a holistic master planning approach to fully understand the building’s current and potential functions, contingencies within the building and contingencies with programs in other campus buildings. Through a series of meetings with student and college representatives, the predesign incorporated design changes, and interior features that ultimately worked for all parties.
While the planning process was extensive involving many meetings with students, users and stakeholder, the effort was well worth the outcome as the $3.8 million, 12,000 sf, 2-story contemporary Bistro opened March 28, 2011 — to accolades from students and faculty alike. The Bistro instantly became the new gathering hub of the campus.