Following the completion of a new chapel on campus, Sasaki was commissioned by Sacred Heart University to design a new 50,000-square-foot student services facility. In addition to the campus bookstore, the program includes food services in the form of a 250-seat dining hall for students, a private 50-seat dining room, informal learning spaces, a career counseling office center, and other student support areas. The student commons is envisioned as an active hub of activity on campus, providing an attractive venue where students can gather day and night, indoors and out.
The building sits at a major campus crossroads of roadways and pedestrian walks, where students and faculty traverse between the main academic center, the new chapel, several residence halls, and the sports complex. Negotiating a substantive change in site elevation, the building becomes a bridge between the lower and upper campus, further emphasizing its role as a node of community life.
The bookstore and a presentation room frame an entry plaza immediately across the existing campus center. From the main entrance, a stairwell connects to the career counseling center on the mezzanine and to the upper level, which leads to the upper parts of the campus through an ample and light-filled concourse area. The main dining hall provides views of the campus and the new chapel. A separate private dining room will be used to host functions for trustees and benefactors of the university. Both facilities are supported by a state of the art kitchen and server area, outfitted with high-end finishes and equipment. A ground level space, connected by the main stair, accommodates night time student functions and activities, including space for entertainment and performances.
The project is LEED® certified to the Silver level.