WTW Architects has teamed with the Student Cooperative Association at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. (SCA) to take a deep dive on what a campus student union and recreation center reopening looks like for this fall amidst the coronavirus pandemic. SCA is an auxiliary service to IUP.
The overarching themes in our approach are a focus on health and safety, allowing for adaptability, flexibility, and collaboration across campus. The result is a living document—accessible from the WTW Architects’ webpage with COVID-19 strategies—or the Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s SCA to communicate with staff and students a strategy to utilize facilities.
Understanding applicable restrictions and guidelines
We evaluated student activity programs and spaces to verify guidelines, permitted and recommended. One example is that even though proxemics could be practiced in lounge areas, the lounge areas are still considered ‘communal space’ and state restrictions still prohibit indoor communal space use.
Occupancy capacity assessment
We worked with SCA to determine reduced occupancy based on ‘proxemics.’ Using 10’ and 12’ distance circles in lieu of 6’ circles for fitness and gymnasium areas. Through collaborative work sessions via Zoom, we developed concept floor plan diagrams, furniture reconfigurations, infographics, and people flow patterns for the facilities.
“We wanted to be able to find a way to give our students an opportunity to be engaged in an environment that would keep the students, staff and facility safe,” says Lou Garzarelli, Student Cooperative Association CEO/Executive Director. “The mission was to find a way to move forward through this pandemic. Because eventually we were going to have students back on campus. So, we needed to figure out what that new normal was going to be,” he adds.
SCA Associate Executive Director Michael Carnovale says: “We wanted to be proactive in our future and be able to successfully reopen and make it as safe as possible to our students, faculty, and staff. The goal was to find a way to reopen.”
We provided a process of collaboration for SCA-IUP, promoting dialogue and empathy for all stakeholders involved. We shared our expertise and knowledge as architects, interior designers and planners to support SCA-IUP as they developed strategies to open their campus. SCA-IUP is not just a client, they are our friends and we wanted to do everything possible to help them through this.
About WTW Architects
A NIRSA Associate Member since 2001, WTW Architects is a nationally recognized thought-leader on student life facilities. WTW focus is planning, programming and designing spaces that are engaging, interactive and build community. Sustainability, wellbeing, and inclusion are embedded in WTW design.
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