One Building, One College, One Learning Community

With university support and the leadership of Dean McCormick, plans are in the works to revitalize and renovate the College’s physical environment to reflect its reputation as one of the top graduate Colleges of Education in the country.

“We have embarked upon a once in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring the entire College of Education community under one roof, in one unified learning environment,” said Dean McCormick. “The resulting College of Education, which will be completely housed in a beautiful, renewed building comprising the original Furcolo Hall and the former Mark’s Meadow elementary school, will reflect our long and celebrated history of advancing excellence in education, and the extraordinary possibilities that lie ahead for us.”

McCormick further described the “new” College of Education complex, scheduled for completion in early 2016, as a “dynamic environment that will facilitate the building of powerful synergies and sustainable collaborations across the entire College and the campus, and will encourage innovative research and learning.”

Perkins+Will, a national architectural and engineering design firm located in Boston with experience renovating buildings on campuses in Massachusetts and across the country, was selected for the project. “We’re very excited to be working with this firm,” said Linda Griffin, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and a member of the building renovation team. “Their presentation highlighted the inclusion and importance of light and air in a well-functioning building, and that is exactly what we were hoping for when we first conceptualized the way the College will be when the project is complete.”

The College Building Committee, including faculty, Associate Dean Griffin, Director of Finance and Facilities Susan Young, and student and staff representatives, held focus group meetings for faculty to share their hopes and dreams for the renovated space. Perkins+Will conducted several visioning meetings with the Building Committee, Campus Planning staff, and the College’s Leadership Team to create several design schematics and inventory accessibility requirements. “The experience of the building when the project has been completed will be very different from the way it is now, both inside and out,” said Griffin.

Over the next few years, Furcolo Hall East and West will be transformed and  re-purposed into vibrant spaces that support collaboration in active-learning and fully-accessible classrooms and research and study spaces. Throughout the complex, restrooms and ramps will be improved or added for accessibility, and an elevator will be installed to provide access to the wings on the second and basement floors. Preliminary plans are to enhance the building’s entrances, and create a bright, open community space with a café and seating area.

“What we look at as one of the most important features in the development of the College of Education as ‘One Building, One College, One Learning Community’ is the opportunity it represents for synergy,” Griffin said. “We will enjoy new, dynamic collaborations with faculty, staff and students all learning and working in the same setting. Even a feature like the café is more than a convenience in that it encourages people to stay in the complex and gather with colleagues for meals or refreshments. With it, we have so much more opportunity for people to come together, to work  together, to exchange ideas and to strengthen the professional relationships that support the ongoing growth of a great College community.”

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