The new Welcome Center – for new and prospective students – also houses administrative offices for University Transportation and Parking Services (UTAPS). The structure is being constructed adjacent to new Parking Structure V at the front entrance to the campus. In close proximity to the University Arboretum, the landscape folds around the building and envelopes it to help it blend in with its surroundings. Included inside is a large assembly space with media briefing area, offices, public counter, conference rooms and other support spaces.
Also included with the project is a pedestrian plaza connecting the building and Parking Structure V with the rest of campus, creating a strong sense of place. The activated plaza space extends out toward the campus for those using the parking structure, while the Welcome Center at the northerly edge of the plaza leans inward from the trees, inviting new students to find out more about the University.
The building’s form and utilization of sloped roofs allows for a generous overhang area for outdoor gatherings and provides an efficient means of rainwater drainage through the use of rain chains. The building’s form also reduces the feeling of building mass in respect to pedestrian scale and creates an inviting atmosphere for campus visitors. The proximity of mature trees will further enhance this effect. Stained and sealed wood panels and slats are integrated into the façade and overhang structure – a nod to the campus’ trellis motif.
The Welcome Center/UTAPS building is designed to achieve LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Construction is expected to begin in late-spring 2018 and last approximately 12 months.