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  Widener University Freedom HallWidener University Freedom Halls


Spiezle Architectural Group, Inc.
321 W. State Street, Media, PA 19063

General Description

Location: Chester, Pennsylvania
Date Bid: Jan 2012 Construction Period: July 2012 to Aug 2013
Total Square Feet: 36,700 Site: 1 acre.
Number of Buildings: One, 9 classrooms, 80 seat auditorium.
Building Sizes: First floor, 10,500; second floor, 11,500; each
additional floor, 11,500; penthouse 3,200; total 36,700 square feet.
Building Height: First floor, 14’; second floor, 14’; each additional floor, 14’; penthouse, 10’; total, 60’.
Basic Construction Type: New. Foundation: Cast-in-place, slab-on-grade.
Exterior Walls: Curtain wall, limestone. Roof: Asphalt shingles, metal, membrane. Floors: Concrete. Interior Walls: CMU, metal stud drywall.
Projected and/or modeled energy usage KBTU/SF/yr: 2066.23 MMBTU/yr.

Project Team

Structural Engineer: Harrison Hamnett, P.C. - 40 Knowles Street, Pennington, NJ 08534
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer: Vanderweil Engineers LLP - 718 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
General Contractor: HSC Builders & Construction Managers - 304 New Mill Lane, Exton, PA 19341

Located on the northwest corner of the campus' quadrangle, Freedom Hall will act as a portal or gateway to the campus and defines the north edge of the quad. Its placement provides a framed view of the University's Iconic symbol, the historic building Old Main, upon arrival from the campus' main parking lot. Its exterior skin is comprised of materials reminiscent of other adjacent buildings on campus, utilizing a combination of limestone and fieldstone with gabled roof forms.

Widener University's mission is to produce citizens who demonstrate professional and civic leadership through academic teaching, experiential learning, and civic engagement. To further support the goals of the school, the University has invested in a state-of-the-art environment that supports collaboration.

The building's interior provides spaces that encourage interaction, bringing together staff and students with differing backgrounds for collaboration. On each floor and within each program group there are common, open spaces of varying shapes and volumes connecting multiple floors. The departments housed in this facility are engaged in the study of complex systems. These systems are rarely linear and may often appear randomly organized. Students of these systems will thrive in an environment that creates opportunities for impromptu meetings. These will act as community spaces critical to supporting true experiential learning.

Freedom Hall houses the various divisions of the University's Communications Department. The program for the building includes a Television Studio and Control Room, Viewing Theater, Editing Rooms, Observation Suite, Classrooms, Computer Labs, Offices, and Study Spaces. The TV/Broadcasting studio has been placed closest to both daily and ceremonial activities on the Quadrangle.

The facility incorporates highly sustainable building systems and materials. Those systems reveal themselves, enabling the users to recognize their value, thus informing dialogue, activity and potentially even the curriculum.

The 30,000-square-foot, three-story building was constructed according to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standards and has achived certification. Freedom Hall has energy-saving and sustainable features that result in it using 30 percent less water and operating 18-20 percent more efficient in terms of energy usage than code requires. In addition, 30 percent of the building's materials came from recycled items and 30 percent came from within the region to reduce the carbon footprint created by transportation.

"Freedom Hall will allow us to change the world one step at a time," stated one senior communication studies major who spoke at the building's dedication ceremony. The student noted how Widener students are already working with community organizations to assist with marketing and communication needs through service-learning courses and senior projects. She stated that the technology in Freedom Hall will help them to better support these community partners with higher-quality products. "That's what Freedom Hall is all about," she said. "It's a place that allies our moral sense to the power of communications."

Pruduct Information
Building Envelope: Indiana Limestone
Roofing: GAF, Carlisle EPDM Windows: Jeldwen
Entrances & Storefronts, Curtain Wall: YKK AP® Interior: USG
Flooring: Armstrong, Roman Mosaic, Mohawk, Daltile
Lighting: Columbia, Zumtobel, Kenall, Finelite, Beta-Calco
Elevator: ThyssenKrupp

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