West Virginia University |
Erickson Alumni Center
One PPG Place, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Location: Morgantown, West Virginia
Date Bid: Nov 2006
Construction Period: June 2007 to Sept 2009 Total Square Feet:
48,000 Site: 5 acres. Number of Buildings: One.
Building Size: Ground, 27,748; first floor, 10,126; second floor,
10,126; total, 48,000 square feet.
Building Height: Ground, 14’8”; first floor, 14’8”; second floor,
12’8”; total, 76’2”.
Basic Construction Type: New/Structural Steel.
Foundation: Cast-in-place, auger cast piles. Exterior Walls:
Brick. Roof: Membrane, faux slate. Floors: Concrete.
Interior Walls: Metal stud drywall.
Structural & Civil Engineer: Alpha Associates, Inc. - 209 Prairie
Avenue, Morgantown, WV 26501
General Contractor: March-Westin Company, Inc. - 360 Frontier
Street, Morgantown, WV 26505
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer: H. F. Lenz Company - 1407 Scalp
Avenue, Johnstown, PA 15904
When the West Virginia University Alumni Association decided that it was
time for a new alumni center, they understood the importance of history,
tradition, and “place-making” and hired IKM Incorporated Architects to
work with them to incorporate all three elements into the design. With
more than 165,000 graduates worldwide and ever increasing enrollment at
the University, the Alumni Association needed space to meet the growing
needs of alumni, friends, and the University community.
The design team was up to the challenge. IKM had a knowledge-base of
data and experiences to draw upon for their ideas, having designed
numerous buildings on college and university campuses, as well as
conference centers, banquet facilities, offices, meeting rooms and
Two months of intensive effort by members of the WVU Alumni Center Task
Force and the design team culminated in a comprehensive program and
schematic design. The design team engaged Alumni Association board
members and staff in a collaborative, participatory process aimed at
discovering the best possible design responses to the opportunities
presented by the site, the program and the budget. IKM worked with the
Association to provide analysis and evaluation of three different sites
for the new building. Design workshops followed a clear three-step
methodology of “Understanding, Exploring and Deciding.” In addition, the
design team and task force made benchmark visits to two recently
constructed alumni centers to learn from other universities’ recent
Inspiration for the design came from Woodburn Hall, one of the oldest
buildings on WVU’s main campus. The Alumni Association and IKM
recognized its iconic status on campus and using a building such as this
emphasized the connection between the Alumni and tradition.
Early renderings were produced to enable the development office to reach
out to the University community for donations and to build excitement
for the new project. Later in the design process, the University
commissioned IKM for a computer-generated animation, or ‘fly-through,’
to incorporate into a DVD video for promotion of the project. As the
architects, IKM was asked to participate at board and donor events to
convey the design intent and to answer any questions stakeholders had
about the Center’s features.
One Association board member said, “IKM has been focused, energetic and
responsive from the beginning. As professionals, they have tendered
their expertise, candid opinions and guidance, and still maintained the
client’s charge as the priority. Their dedication to this project has,
at all phases, been readily apparent.”
The resultant project is a 48,000 square foot iconic facility located
less than 400 yards from the Milan Puskar football stadium, on the
Evansdale Campus easily supporting indoor and outdoor activities. As
alumni and visitors approach the new center they will be drawn to the
landmark bell tower evocative of Woodburn Hall on the West Virginia
University main campus. Featuring a central courtyard garden with an
outdoor fireplace and multiple terraces on the exterior, the new
facility establishes a positive first impression for returning alumni
and visitors. The interior is organized in two wings: an Alumni House
and a Great Hall and features pre-event spaces, a large banquet hall, a
full-service kitchen, a club room and multiple meeting rooms.
With IKM’s successful design, the Alumni Association is confident that
the new Center will enhance the hundreds of events, meetings, award
ceremonies and other special occasions it hosts every year. It will
allow growth in programs, enable more campus wide events and serve as
the home of future generations of West Virginia University Alumni.