Fitting it All Together

Published on 05 June 2016

Phase II of the master plan to transform the campus of St. Louis College of Pharmacy is quickly coming together. When complete, the College will have added more than 400,000 square feet of classrooms, labs, study areas, recreation facilities, and living space in just three years.

There’s not an inch to spare in the latest construction project at St. Louis College of Pharmacy. To be precise, and everyone involved in building the Recreation and Student Center (RAS) is just that, there’s not one thirty-second of an inch to spare.

The RAS will consist of a seven-story, 193,000-square foot student center, residence hall, and recreation facility built to those exacting specifications. Amy Luchun, project architect at St. Louis-based Forum Studio, was tasked with fitting four very different, significant needs into the building: a competition gymnasium, student center, residence hall, and dining facility. Even though the building’s entire square footage is nearly 40 percent larger than the field the Cardinals play on at Busch Stadium, there is not a lot of room to spare when incorporating so many features into the building.

“The biggest challenge was bringing all four functions together and how they could relate to each other and share amenities,” Luchun said.

Designing the Space

To meet that challenge, work started more than a year before any dirt was moved. Following meetings with students, faculty, and staff, decisions were made about the needs of each function and how to best integrate them into the RAS. The entire building was first designed on a computer using the latest modeling programs. Combined, the RAS and recently completed Academic and Research Building (ARB) will be the new front door for the College and physically represent the next chapter in the College’s more than 150-year history. The first thing many visitors will see in the RAS is the 400-seat cafeteria, which will take up most of the ground floor in the eastern portion of the building. When the weather is nice, there will be spaces for outdoor dining and studying as well.

A new kitchen area will serve expanded meal offerings and cater to a large, multi-purpose event space on the second floor. Luchun and her team of 10 were able to recreate and update some of the most-used spaces from the old Cartwright Student Center including the former Carlisle meeting rooms.

Upgraded Facilities

The College’s athletic and recreation facilities will see a vast upgrade from years past. The facilities have been designed to support students’ health and well-being while encouraging the Eutectic spirit. The competition gymnasium on the first floor will seat more than 1,000 spectators. Fans will enjoy a welcoming entryway and dedicated space for concessions and ticketing. There will be expanded athletic training rooms, separate home and away locker rooms, and space for officials. Students involved in the College’s popular intramural leagues will enjoy a gym on the second floor, which overlooks the competition gym. In addition to hosting NAIA Intercollegiate Athletic events, the competition gym will be used for a variety of campus events.

On the third floor, the 200-meter running track will wrap around the western side of the building and look down into both the intramural and competition gyms. The rest of the third floor will be dedicated to the fitness center.

An expansive view of the growing Cortex business district, downtown St. Louis, and the Gateway Arch will serve as motivation to those taking advantage of a line of treadmills and rowing machines. An exercise room will be created for group fitness classes.

“It covers everything we had in the old gym and weight area, and more,” said Eric Knoll, Ph.D., assistant vice president of college services.

Student-Centered Focus

Students who commute to campus each day will have space to store and heat up food on the fourth floor, as well as a large lounge area. Counseling, student development, tutoring, and the Student Success Center connected to the Office of Culture and Campus Life will round out the fourth floor. A multicultural student center and quiet serenity room will be available to all students, faculty, and staff for personal or group prayers and reflection.

The top three floors will be home to more than 200 students. A double-loaded corridor means every resident will have a window. Each floor will have several study rooms and a laundry facility will be on the sixth floor. Access to the upper floors will be controlled through ID card access.

With the glass-lined walls and sharp angles, the building’s design is meant to complement the ARB, as well as stand out among the many new buildings in one of the country’s preeminent biomedical complexes.

This story was originally published in the fall 2016 issue of Script, the College’s alumni magazine. Read the current and past issues online at stlcop.edu/script.

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