March 21, 2012
Construction Conclusion: Webster University Set To Unveil New East Academic Building
Webster University’s East Academic Building – the first new classroom building on the University’s St. Louis campus since 1984 – will officially be dedicated at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 28 in the building’s Edward Jones Commons, 545 Garden Ave. in Webster Groves. The event, which is open to the public, will include an address by the building’s renowned design architect, Robert A. M. Stern, followed by a reception and tours.
On Saturday, March 31, from noon to 2 p.m., Webster will host a free and open-to-the- public Community Day at the new East Academic Building. The event will feature a barbecue lunch; stunning balloon art created by Webster University alumnus Jason Hackenwerth; an international student art exhibit; sustainability tours; and, for youngsters, a caricature artist and the opportunity to meet Webster University’s mascot, the Gorlok.
The $29 million, 94,323-square-foot East Academic Building will house the George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology as well as other programs and services. With 31 classrooms, 10 large computer labs, 48 offices, and two large lobbies, the new building features the most up-to-date instruction design and technology.
Design architect Stern, who is dean of the Yale School of Architecture, possesses a portfolio of exceptional signature designs that stand on such noteworthy campuses as Harvard, the University of Virginia, Stanford, Georgetown and Dartmouth. The East Academic Building’s architectural style is a modern interpretation of “collegiate gothic” with a nod to the pure gothic style of Webster’s iconic building, Webster Hall.
“The East Academic Building is an important milestone in Webster University’s history as we work toward our common goal of achieving global academic excellence,” said Webster President Elizabeth (Beth) J. Stroble. “This building serves as a bridge that links the historic Webster University with the future of the institution. The opening of the East Academic Building represents a defining moment for Webster as we move toward completion of our new campus master plan, which will help direct future development of our St. Louis campus for the next 15 years and beyond.”
The building’s design encourages collaboration and interdisciplinary studies, and ignites new ideas with creativity and intellect. It also captures many of Webster’s distinguishing characteristics, such as bringing together different learning styles, a commitment to environmental sustainability and energy efficiency, and providing students with small class sizes and individual attention.
The East Academic Building’s classrooms can handle up to 30 students and are flexible to support various models of teaching methods; all will emphasize collaborative learning. More than half of the new spaces will be “cluster” classrooms, with counters between tables and chairs facing the front of the classroom. These will easily swivel to form into groups for discussions and projects. Each table-and-chair cluster features access for recharging laptops, tablets and high-speed bandwidth.
A lecture-style classroom with capacity for 100 students provides additional space for speakers and special presentations, including the business school’s popular Walker Speaker Series, which has become a stage for leaders of substance to speak to the next generation and to offer their perspectives on the issues, challenges and opportunities facing today’s business leaders.
“A building cannot enhance academic excellence, but it can inspire it,” said Webster Provost and Senior Vice President Julian Z. Schuster. “It’s really about bringing together varied academic disciplines under one roof to celebrate learning. We intentionally designed the space to be interdisciplinary, which will inspire new ideas and enhance learning.”
The East Academic Building also boasts numerous sustainability features. It was built to meet LEED silver certification, pending third-party verification, to improve performance through energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emission reduction, improved indoor environmental quality and stewardship of resources.
The building site contains two rain gardens for controlled reduced runoff. Two green roofs and low-emittance glass help reduce heat and cooling loads and increase energy efficiency year-round. The green roofs contain 22,824 plants, including the varieties Sedum Album “coral carpet,” Sedum Reflexum, Sedum Kamtschaticum and Festuca Glauca “Elijah Blue.”
The impermeable membrane vapor barrier “envelope” of the East Academic Building implements high-performance design and construction techniques that surpass today’s energy codes and produce estimated savings of $30,000 per year.
With a tower visible from the entire Webster University campus, the East Academic Building will create a new east quadrangle between the Community Music School Building, the Repertory Theatre administrative offices and the Loretto-Hilton Center.
With its home campus in St. Louis, Webster University (www.webster.edu) is the only Tier 1, private, non-profit U.S.-based university providing a network of international residential campuses. Founded in 1915, Webster University’s campus network today includes metropolitan, military and corporate locations around the world, as well as traditional residential campuses in Asia, Europe and North America. The university is committed to delivering high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence.
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