Students’ Top Priorities Included in New Student Life Center

Responsive design helps a college campus move away from its commuter campus reputation

The new Student Life Quad (SLQ) at Delaware State University (DSU) helps the school shed its commuter campus image. Three separate buildings – a student center, an athletic strength and conditioning center, and a wellness center – are tied together by an exterior intramural courtyard.


Soaring ceilings, lofty interiors, double-height, and glass curtainwall building façades, which are punctuated by a unified, vibrant, interior color scheme dominated by school colors (blue and red), enhance the buildings’ collective visibility on campus.


According to Douglas Moss, partner of Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture (HMBA), “Conceiving this Student Life Quad illustrates how responsive design can incorporate a variety of functional campus planning parameters as well as university, student, and community concerns.” Ultimately, a composition of buildings, exterior facilities, and landscaping, combined with informal spaces for social interaction, enhance community identity and campus life while encouraging student congregation.


University officials and HMBA worked closely to incorporate students’ top priorities. In the Student Center, lounges/social gathering spaces, quiet study space, student organization workspaces, and food services, including a dining room, grille, and convenience store, were added. In the Wellness Center, students’ request for recreational pool facilities, a running/walking track, fitness/weight training rooms, outdoor basketball and volleyball courts, and cardiovascular areas were addressed.


Environmentally responsible goals for the project were developed at a Green Summit with all project stakeholders. Sustainable features include:

·         Implementation of a waste management program for demolition of the existing student center.

·         Reduced disturbance to the site.

·         Use of regional and natural materials.

·         A natural ventilation system for lounge and dining areas.

·         Energy-efficient lighting fixtures with motion sensors.

·         Large overhangs at the south and west sides to reduce energy consumption.

·         Reduction of net to gross area ratio by providing efficient circulation.

·         Light-colored roofs to reduce solar gain.