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Industry Updates: News & Awards

By Selena Fragassi


A Million Reasons to Love Renovation at Salve Regina University

It was an event two years in the making when administrators unveiled the new O’Hare Academic Building at Salve Regina University this spring. The multi-million dollar project not only overhauled the crown jewel of the Newport, Rhode Island campus, but it also added 23,000 square of space in the form of state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories, and collaborative workspaces. Architects from the Robinson Green Beretta group expertly kept the integrity of the building’s Bauhaus style, while also adding in modern touches. In addition to the functional classroom space, the expanded O’Hare Academic Building features two updated lecture halls, an expanded café, and indoor and outdoor areas for dining, networking, and informal meetings. Guests can also enjoy common spaces on outdoor terraces overlooking the university’s oceanfront grounds.

Water-Saving Measures Flow at University of San Diego
Though California has received record-breaking rainfall and snow the past few months, much of the state has been affected by a multi-year drought, particularly in the southern regions, which have semi-arid climates. To do their part to conserve water usage, officials with the University of San Diego partnered with Whirley-DrinkWorks! out of Pennsylvania for an innovative idea. In October 2016, they launched the Sustain-A-Bottle Freestyle program that asked the student body to purchase BPA-free “reusable smart bottles” that have RFID chips; students then purchase a semester’s worth of drinking water and refill the bottle at convenient stations within dining service locations (also allowing them to bypass the cashier line). Not only does this help reduce landfill waste but using refillable bottles helps conserve water and cuts down on a supply that might otherwise be poured down the drain since there is investment in the pre-purchase model. USD is the first campus on the West Coast to offer the program.

Alumni Centre at University of British Columbia Gets Award of Excellence
When the 2016 Urban Development Institute Awards for Excellence were announced, among the group of elite winners was the Robert H. Lee Alumni Center at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. The new meeting and social space in the heart of campus took home the top honors in the “institutional” category, which recognizes buildings that add to the community and local urban landscape. An independent jury assesses each nominee for building design; public spaces; sustainability measures; livability factors; financials; and project success.

Virginia Commonwealth University Revives Event Space on Medical Campus
Now planners can make an appointment to have a meeting or event at the MCV Alumni House and Paul A. Gross Conference Center. These new options are located on the School of Medicine campus at Virginia Commonwealth University, located in the capital city of Richmond. The MCV Alumni House is designated as a Virginia Historic Landmark and offers two floors of space, inclduing two large conference rooms with state-of-the-art A/V equipment, a formal board room for smaller sessions, three catering kitchens and two formal parlors that are the perfect setting for receptions, cocktail parties, holiday events, and more.

McNamara Alumni Center Goes Pro with Ryder Cup Kickoff Dinner
Last September, the University of Minnesota welcomed American and European professional golfers, captains, and tournament officials to its campus for a special welcome dinner to celebrate the start of the Ryder Cup, which was held in nearby Chaska. After PGA officials toured the grounds and the marquee building, McNamara Alumni Hall, they were smitten with Memorial Hall as a venue choice, citing its rich copper and wood tones for a perfectly masculine backdrop for an upscale event. The long communal tables were set with gold charger plates and chivari chairs, along with purple calla lilies and hydrangeas. A five-course dinner was provided by D’Amico Catering. The menu included Minnesota-inspired items like braised bison short ribs, seared sea bass, warm wild rice and cranberry walnut bread, and smoked trout with horseradish, along with wine pairings.