The College Experience

The photo above is the Dinand Library at the College of the Holy Cross. The imposing structure was dedicated in 1927 and has been a focal point of the prestigious college’s campus ever since. Historic buildings like this one are common features of the many well-known colleges across New England. Their presence links generations of students in a shared campus experience, but they also present challenges, as the college experience does and should change over time. LPA|A was hired to renovate restrooms in the building several years ago to accommodate the more diverse student body.

LPA|A has been working on campus projects for several Central Massachusetts colleges for many years, gaining expertise in an array of projects for higher education institutions. Colleges and universities are a community within a community, offering not only the traditional academic settings needed for lectures and class discussions, but a variety of housing options, dining and café spaces, cultural and theater experiences, as well as other appealing spaces to congregate and collaborate, or read and study in quiet. We are fortunate to have a number of renowned colleges and universities with long histories in this region, as they enrich our wider community.

Key Contacts

William S. Senecal

Project Architect

Christina S. Bazelmans

AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Associate Principal

Sean Brennan
Sean W. Brennan

AIA, NCARB

Project Architect

Peter A. Caruso, Jr.

AIA, NCARB, LEED AP

Associate Principal

Spaces to Gather, Learn

The College of the Holy Cross asked LPA|A to relocate and expand a coffee kiosk from a crowded lobby in an academic building to a classroom space, offering seating for 30 and stand-up bars for another 12. While no longer a traditional academic space, it still serves as a place to collaborate, study and generally engage in an exchange of ideas. Among the considerations for any project to upgrade and enhance a space like this is the integration of technology. WiFi connectivity, state-of-the art learning and teaching technologies and even opportunities for virtual learning have become the standard in a recent years.

Serving a Diverse Population

Many local colleges opened at a time when schools were often segregated by race and gender and little consideration was given to making facilities accessible to people with disabilities. Now college campuses are often at the leading edge in fostering and supporting diversity. Colleges once renovated buildings to add bathrooms for women and now are creating gender neutral restrooms. As on-call architect for Worcester State University, LPA|A recently completed a study to look at ways to make their 1964-era Sullivan Auditorium accessible. Student services across the spectrum have become more prominent as colleges increase their efforts to help students navigate their unique challenges to be better able to make the most of their academic opportunities.

Food and Culture

Creating a well-rounded educational experience, offering healthy and diverse dining options, and generally creating a desirable environment in which to live and learn is important to attracting the students, staff, and faculty that comprise the college community. LPA|A has been called upon to modernize and enhance serveries for Clark and Holy Cross, and in addition has an extensive portfolio of creating and renovating various arts and cultural spaces. From guest lectures to dramatic performances, music and visual arts, one of the most visible and direct benefits of having a college or university within a community is access to cultural experiences.

In Service to the Community

LPA|A was pleased to be able to host Worcester Polytechnic Institute students from Steven van Dessel’s architectural engineering design class as they presented their studio projects. Teams of students took turns presenting their ideas to representatives of the Scouts organization and LPA|A architects. Students benefited from the opportunity to tour an architectural office and present their designs to both professionals and clients for feedback.  This session was very much in alignment with WPI’s approach to learning which incorporates real world work experiences for students.

students present work to LPA|A architects

Key Contacts

William S. Senecal

Project Architect

Christina S. Bazelmans

AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Associate Principal

Sean Brennan
Sean W. Brennan

AIA, NCARB

Project Architect

Peter A. Caruso, Jr.

AIA, NCARB, LEED AP

Associate Principal