Penn State Student Success Center
Penn State University, Eberly | Student Success Center
Completion Date: November 2015
Gross Area: 4,136 SF
As part of their commitment to providing students a dynamic and engaging university experience, Chancellor Charles Patrick and the PSU facilities team embarked on developing space that would focus on fostering a student-centric learning environment. PSU approached R3A to develop a prototype for what was titled the Student Success Center at their Fayette campus. R3A worked with PSU to cultivate a program that would combine Academic Advising, Career Services and a Learning Center into a one-stop shop for directed student support. Each component of the Student Success Center had its own disparate program requirements however the R3A’s objective was to create a vibrant, unified space with emphasis on collaboration and transparency.
The Student Success Center was one part of an on-going redevelopment project of the Williams Building. Located on the upper floor, the existing space was a former exhibit space and tutoring room. One of the primary challenges of the existing space was excessive glazing along the staff offices that created a “fish bowl” condition. With a commitment to sustainability R3A documented and cataloged each piece of existing glass that was then be repurposed as office glazing and to define a central circulation corridor, which was used as marker board and spatially to delineate 3 distinct zones: office, central circulation and collaborative learning space.
R3A’s planning strategy was to consolidate the smaller disparate program spaces into one volume surrounded by a wood armature that would contain the reception desk, resource library and kitchenette. By rotating the volume and resource armature 19 degrees, all of these components could be aligned linearly while maintaining the central circulation “spine.” The interstitial space between the south wall and the volume allowed for private entry into the testing rooms, separating it from the more public collaborative meeting area. By consolidating all of the smaller components of the program into one singular form, the remainder of the space could exist as a fully flexible space that could be reconfigured for large or small group study sessions, tutoring sessions, large scale events and conventions. A bright color palette and a variety of flexible furnishings were employed to accentuate a vibrant and collaborative atmosphere.