College Halls at Vanderbilt University
Attracting top prospective students is a challenge that every college and university faces. Across the county, schools are looking for new and innovative ways to appeal to students to draw them to their campus. Vanderbilt University is no different. In the early 2010s, Vanderbilt explored new housing options for a stretch of residential dorms facing West End Avenue. The existing buildings were built in the 1950’s and in bad shaped. The lacked the infrastructure necessary to undergo major renovations for upgrading the facilities. Vanderbilt decided that demolishing the existing facilities and starting over provided the best opportunity to build the innovative space that their students were looking for.
Vanderbilt engaged SSR in the College Halls project after the successful completion of another set of dorms elsewhere on campus. Actually made up of three buildings, Warren College, Moore College, and the Kissam Center, College Halls was a fast tracked project with an 18 month construction schedule. Vanderbilt wanted the dorms built quickly to limit the number of displaced students during construction. During design, SSR’s internal project team worked daily on the dorms, updating Revit models frequently so that they were always current at the weekly OAC (owner, architect, and contractor) meetings. This attention to detail and consistent updating of the drawings allowed the project to move along at the timeline. As the project moved to construction and the existing dorms were demolished, the site needs infrastructure upgrades to accommodate the new technology and utilities that were required. SSR remained engaged in the project, making design modifications as necessary.
The College Halls are connected to the campus’s central utility plant for the steam and electrical needs. Two 700 ton chillers were installed to serve the cooling requirements. Each dorm room or suite has dedicated 4-pipe fan coils that are served by dedicated outside air units with heat recovery. All common area lighting is connected to a central lighting control system to enable campus facilities to have better control of the lighting for energy savings purposes.
The LEED Gold® facility opened in the fall of 2014, providing Vanderbilt’s upperclassmen the opportunity to experience communal living on campus. This residential option conveys the comforts of a small college community, while still affording students an education at a world-class research university with a wide variety of undergraduate academic programs. Vanderbilt and its students are extremely pleased with the end project and as a result, SSR has been retained to provide services for additional upcoming residential hall projects on campus.