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POMONA, NJ-Work has begun on a new 153,000-sf campus center at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey here. Site preparation has commenced, and construction will begin in November of this year.

When completed, the campus center, which is being designed by KSS Architects of Princeton and VMDO Architects of Charlottesville, VA will boast an event venue, student dining facility, retail and offices. “We were particularly intrigued by this project because this changes the characteristic of Stockton as an institution,” Andrew Tucker, the project manager, tells GlobeSt.com. “For the most part, students would leave campus over the weekend. Stockton’s desire was to really make the campus a place where students want to live and socialize and be there on the weekends.”

Tucker continues that “the project is a campus center that is proposed to be a cultural center and a social center for students, faculty and the community at large. It will have a recital hall-quality theater, an event room that could support a variety of activities from dance to performances to banquets to career days. It includes offices for admissions, the bursar and the registrar, a coffee house, game rooms and a bookstore. It’s meant to be a place where people can live and work and become a center for the institution.”

According to Tucker and Michael Shatken, the KSS partner in charge of the project, the new campus center will become the main building on a new campus green and will become a model for future buildings at Stockton. “Stockton historically has been a very linear building that had a long gallery with classrooms and various wings off this gallery,” explains Shatken. “This is the first significant departure from that campus plan. This sets up a new college green for the institution. It will be more or less the entrance to the campus, and the head building of what will become the new campus green as new buildings are constructed.”

KSS is no stranger to the Stockton campus. This will be the company’s fourth project for the institution. It is also responsible for Stockton’s athletic facility, an academic building and a dorm.

Continuing Stockton’s tradition of environmental responsibility, the campus center has been designed to meet LEED Gold standards. The building will run on the campus’s geothermal wellfield and could utilize the new Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage heating and cooling system completed in 2007. The building also utilizes sustainable wood and features a rain garden adjacent to the student dining facility, which will be irrigated via stormwater collected from the roof.

“One of the things that’s particularly intrinsic to the environment of the Pinelands is water; the Pinelands has a huge aquifer,” says Shatken. “What we’ve done with the building is we gathered some of the roof water and we’ll bring it into a rain garden so you can understand how water goes through the cycle of being reintroduced into the earth. It’ll show people how the aquifer gets replenished, how water plays an important part in the Pinelands.”

According to Shatken and Tucker, site preparation work has begun. Bidding for the second phase of the project, actual construction, will take place in September and October of this year, with construction commencing in November. The delivery date for the campus center is early 2011.

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