Architects at Boora in Portland are hard at work to finish final drawings for Oregon State’s new Classroom building.
The building will be ready for occupancy in Fall 2015, and the campus community has already been busy planning.
The Integrated Instructional Resource Center (IIRC) and the University’s Honors College will be located in the new building. A variety of classes will be taught inside the building from large lectures to small group discussions.
Faculty and staff from IIRC, The Honors College and many of the Colleges throughout Oregon State have been involved with Boora Architects on the project from the very beginning.
“Faculty at Oregon State have been so helpful,” says Principal Architect Amy Donohue. “They have been so willing to experiment and try to push the boundaries of what a learning environment is. It’s the opposite of what we find in most institutions this size.”
The classroom building, located behind the Women’s Building near the new Austin Hall, will contain between 2,145 and 2,270 total classroom seats as well as 500-600 informal study seats.
Donohue says the informal seats are important due to traffic the building will receive.
“Imagine a class change with 2,200 people sitting in a classroom in this building and 2,200 people waiting outside to get in there,” she says. “It will be an incredible number of people moving in and out.”
A room nicknamed the “Arena” in planning stages will be a 600-seat classroom in the round. In this state-of-the-art room, students will never be more than 40 feet from the presenter.
Architects visited Milam Hall, which currently contains the largest auditorium on campus.
“If you’re in the back of the room, you’re so far from the professor, you feel disconnected,” Donohue explains. “In this room, you are never more than seven rows from your professor. There aren’t any back rows. You will be engaged with the professor and your classmates within the space.”
Screens will surround the room and multimedia presentations will be viewable from any seat in the room. A gridded ceiling will allow instructors to place technology anywhere they need it. This will also allow for advances in technology in coming years.
Other areas of the building will include a 200-seat classroom as well as a “learning studio,” a flexible flat-floor room that promotes active problem solving and peer teaching for up to 100 students.
“Working with Boora has been a very collaborative process,” Honors College Dean Toni Doolen agrees.
The Honors College has doubled in size since it’s occupied its current location in Strand Hall. With minimal dedicated classroom space, Honors College faculty are looking forward to teaching in classrooms specifically designed for the class sizes they offer.
“We do a lot of engaged, collaborative work,” Doolen says. “We need a space where we can move around tables and chairs, and our current spaces don’t support versatility like that. There is nothing like this on campus right now. We’re excited to see it come to fruition.”