GLASSBORO — Rowan University plans to expand its Chamberlain Student Center to keep pace with the school’s dramatic growth in recent years.
A 30,000 square foot addition, due for completion by the end of 2022, would meet increased demand in a building that is now ‘insufficient’ for its intended use, according to a document on the school website.
The project also aims to make “an iconic statement in the center of campus along Route 322,” says the request for proposals, or RFP, for construction management services.
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The addition would rise between the existing student center, a three-story, 134,000-square-foot structure built in 1974, and the school library, according to the request for proposals.
The RFP, which does not include budget figures, identifies the planned building as the Agora.
Renderings included in the RFP show a largely glass-walled building that descends like a staircase as it winds away from Route 322, also known as Mullica Hill Road.
Other views show a large, airy interior with a wide staircase that doubles as auditorium-style seating.
The document says Rowan’s “significant growth in recent years” has exceeded the capacity of the center, which sees some 12,000 visitors daily during the school year.
The facility also sees “a multitude of visitors” for events and programs during the summer months, he adds.
Rowan, founded in 1923 as a teachers’ college, is now a public research university with more than 16,000 students, the document says.
It says the student center “is no longer adequate or equipped to meet the increased needs” and that the demand for space “far exceeds” its capacity.
Among other points, the document notes that the number of meetings and events at the center has more than doubled since 2006.
The current building includes a ballroom, formal dining room, cafeteria and food court, the DP says. It also houses a computer lab and offices for student groups.
However, the RFP notes, some groups that would normally use the center have been forced to find space elsewhere on the Glassboro campus.
It says the expansion, which is expected to begin construction by mid-2021, would meet both current needs and future growth.
The project also includes minor renovations to the existing building, including an upgrade to its heating and cooling system.
Jim Walsh is a freelance journalist who has wandered South Jersey for decades. His interests include crime, the courts, economic development and being the first to know about breaking news. Contact him at [email protected] or look for him in traffic.
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