Pomona College’s recently redesigned Smith Campus Center (SCC) was honored with the Facility Design Award by the Association of College Unions International.
The SCC was one of six college student centers to win the award, which was based on the buildings’ appearance, the workability of the designs, and how the renovations have improved campus life.
“[The award is] significant because it is peer recognition,” said Neil Gerard, Associate Dean of Students and Director of SCC. “The panel that reviewed the submissions were campus center professionals and architects from around the country.”
Built in 1999, the SCC underwent major renovations when it was redesigned only eight years later.
The 2007 changes made the space more casual and friendly, Gerard said, whereas before it had been more formal and less usable for students.
“The use patterns demonstrate that students are using the building more than before the renovation,” Gerard said.
Improvements in the renovation included opening up the south side of the SCC courtyard to make it more accessible and pedestrian-friendly, as well as expanding and redesigning the Coop Fountain to be more comfortable and less chic.
According to Gerard, the biggest changes were the addition of Dom’s Lounge and the creation of a “hang-out” space in the Fireside Lounge and mailroom.
“[These changes are] testimony to the fact that the social scene has shifted to the Campus Center,” Gerard said. “[I see] students in the Living Room, reading, studying, napping, watching TV or working on the computers from early morning until we close early the next morning.”
The building was redesigned to match the architectural style of older buildings on campus, but was given a modern “twist.” It now has a much more open design, with a grass slope that leads into Dom’s and a large windowed northern wall in the Coop Fountain. Renovations also took sustainability into consideration, using natural light and recycled materials.
Gerard and the SCC team hope to continue with small improvements, such as sound systems and theatrical lighting in Edmunds Ballroom, but no major renovations are currently in the works for SCC.