July 19, 2007

Village at 115 earns high marks for 'best practices' in design, planning

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Case Western Reserve University's Village at 115 continues to draw accolades. And not just from the undergraduate students who live in the two-year-old residential housing complex on the northeast end of campus.

The Society for College and University Planning has awarded the university and its architect and design planner, Goody Clancy of Boston, its 2007 Honor Award for Excellence in Planning for a District or Campus Component. The national award is one of several the organization gives out to recognize best practices in planning for colleges and universities. Planning can entail academics, campus or master facilities, budget and financial resources, infrastructure or strategic initiatives.

"It is an honor for the university to receive this prestigious award from the Society of College and University Planners recognizing the planning and design of the Village at 115," says Ken Basch, vice president for campus planning and operations. "This is truly a tribute to the hard work, commitment and vision of everyone who contributed countless hours to making the Village at 115 a reality."

The vision for the Village at 115 required much commitment from all who signed on to the project, in part, because of its ambitious goals: to create a exciting new academic residential village for 740 students, based on a new mixed model of student life to reconnect an isolated area of the campus and the city of Cleveland. University officials and planners also wanted the project to energize the surrounding neighborhood, create a sense of place and destination, provide a thriving student community and increase student interaction.

They also felt it imperative for the project to incorporate as many energy efficient and sustainable resources as possible.

Basch added that it was important for the project to serve as a means to strengthen the relationship between academic, residential and social function while setting a new standard of excellence.

The resulting project included seven individual theme-based, apartment-style housing units with bridges and archways that connect them. An athletic stadium and playing field are at the core. The housing units create a type of courtyard that overlooks the field and forms gateways to encourage pedestrian travel. In addition, two public streets were reopened to connect the neighborhood to the campus.

In terms of best practices, the organization cited the collaboration among university and Goody Clancy officials, city leaders and others to develop a comprehensive vision for student life. The design considered on- and off-campus housing built upon the understanding of the social dynamics of the students who lived there.

Glenn Nicholls, vice president for student affairs, credits Goody Clancy with helping the university create a sense of community in that area of campus plus an environmentally healthy living space.

These improvements increased admission applications by 40 percent, and the energy efficient buildings used 40 percent less energy than conventional buildings. Having the athletic field and stadium at the center of the housing complex has boosted school spirit and attendance at games. It also has attracted fans and observers from the adjacent neighborhoods.

Nicholls adds that these combined efforts have made the Village at 115 a landmark on campus.

The Village at 115 project also earned the 2007 Ohio Area Golden Trowel Award, Best in Category—Education: Colleges/Universities/Trade Schools, recognizing outstanding achievements in masonry design and construction. Read more about the SCUP and Golden Trowel honors.

For more information, call Marsha Lynn Bragg at 216.368-6949.

Posted by: Marsha Bragg, July 19, 2007 09:16 AM | News Topics: Campus Life, HeadlinesMain

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