DeRosa University Center
The new DeRosa University Center is a 55,000 square-foot building serving as the University's primary welcome and information center. The University Center also includes a two-story entry atrium, with wireless Internet both inside and outside the building, a full service pub, entertainment venues, a ballroo, high-tech meeting rooms, a gaming room and the University bookstore.
"The University Center will serve as the campus living room," said President Donald V. DeRosa. "We expect the Center will strengthen the sense of community that is already so characteristic of Pacific, while also serving as a reminder that we are to be good stewards of our environment."
The University Center was built to meet the space needs for the growing student community. Over the years, the University has witnessed growth in student enrollment and an expanded role of student activities. As the university's first green building, the DeRosa University Center includes many environmentally-friendly features and uses less energy and water than most buildings of its kind.
"The new University Center will provide that important 'third place' for our students beyond their residence hall room and classroom - the place where they gather to meet and greet each other," said Elizabeth Griego, vice president for Student Life. "We expect it will be the center of our campus community."
Pacific's first green building
To ensure the University Center meets high professional green standards, Pacific has applied for certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. The organization provides third-party certification through its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System (LEED) program. The rating system is used around the world.
Pacific hopes to earn a LEED silver certification, which is the second of four tiers of certifications: certified, silver, gold and platinum. To meet silver standards, Pacific worked closely with San Francisco-based Gensler, an international architectural, design and planning firm that specializes in sustainable design. Final certification is expected in early 2009.
"In all of Gensler's projects, we try to create contemporary designs that are also sustainable, and produce a healthier environment for people to interact," said Gary Brandau, the lead architect for the University Center. "Gensler looks to the culture, people and vision of an organization to create spaces that are both practical and inspired. Here, the Center was designed to operate efficiently, and meet the needs of both the student body and the university community."
Among the energy-efficient features in the building are retractable skylights, daylight sensors and large windows and doors for natural lighting and cooling. The building's mixed-mode heating and air conditioning system will allow for natural ventilation.
The building also features water-saving components. The surrounding landscape will be irrigated with non-drinkable water pumped from the adjacent Calaveras River. The building's dishwashers will function with a minimum amount of water usage and the restrooms will be equipped with dual-flush toilets designed to conserve water. With these components, the University Center should use 50 percent less water than other comparable conventional buildings.
Recycled materials may be found throughout the building, including glass tiles in the restrooms, concrete in the lobby, used tires on the roof and fabric panels in the event space. Recycled (FSC-certified) wood was used for the floor in the event space, inside the River Room restaurant and on the deck and for the ceiling of the main lobby.
Non-toxic paint was used for the outdoor conference space. Rainwater runoff near the building is filtered through nearby vegetated swales - depressions in the landscape designed to remove water contaminants before it enters the city's storm drain system.
The additional cost of the green components is estimated at $400,000, but the University Center's energy- and water-efficiency will make it substantially less costly to operate and maintain than conventional buildings.
A 'third place' for students
The University Center is designed to give a casual, lounge-like atmosphere filled with music, art and a sense of campus life at Pacific. It will provide students with adequate space to study, meet in groups and work on class projects as well as unwind and relax with friends.
"The University Center will serve as Pacific's town square," said Jason Velo, director of the University Center and Student Activities. "As the center of Pacific's community life, it will complement the academic experience through a variety of cultural, educational and social programs as well as serve as a place where Pacific students engage in dialogue, debate and intellectual inquiry."
The University relocated all of its dining services to the University Center, offering a variety of food stations in the Edwin B. Fuld Servery and the Tony & Virginia Chan Café. The Arnold Scott Commons seats 400 people and will offer everything from South American dishes to Asian-style food and American classics. Vegetarian dishes, soups and dessert bars. Food services are open in the center from 7:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. every day.
A second floor pub, The Lair, serves hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries and pizza. Other features include flat-screen televisions and a nearby performance area for live entertainment and all monitored by trained students and staff.
For more of a restaurant feel, there is also a diner area called The River Room, which offers a salad bar, entrees, soups and desserts in a buffet-style format. The River room includes round tables draped with white tablecloths, a greeter at the front door and outdoor seating on the deck, which overlooks the Calaveras River.
Other features in the building include digital display screens to announce campus events, a Barnes & Noble bookstore, the Russell & Susan Leatherby Conference Center and the Judith M. Chambers Student Life Suite. The University Center's gaming room, dubbed the "Next Generation Arcade," includes Xbox game units and television screens with surround sound.
The outdoor spaces around the University Center are designed to attract students throughout the week with a fire pit, patios, comfortable seating, an expansive lawn and a brick-paved plaza for festivals, concerts, graduations and reunions.
"The new University Center is going to bring excitement to Pacific," said Edwin Lindo '09, president of Pacific's student government. "It will connect all students from throughout the campus. With the University Center, Pacific is entering the 21st century with style."
A community asset
The Stockton community benefits from the University Center through a host of guest speakers, concerts and festivals. Community members will be able to rent out space in the University Center for conferences, receptions and other events.
The 7,000-square-foot ballroom in the Center will be the main site for major events and can accommodate up to 800 people. It includes a stage and banquet-style seating that can be cleared for large events or split for two smaller programs. The space will be used for University lectures, workshops, conventions, concerts, dances, alumni reunions and receptions.
The $38 million cost of the University Center was covered in part by donations, bonds, and operating and reserve funds. Those donations came from the recently completed "Investing in Excellence" campaign that raised $330 million in gifts to Pacific.
Pacific hired Milpitas-based Devcon Construction, Inc. as the building's contractor and San Francisco-based Gensler to serve as the building's architect. Gary Brandau, a Gensler architect for the University Center, brought more than six years of experience in designing higher education facilities. His past projects include the Haas Pavilion Sports Arena at University of California, Berkeley, Humboldt State University's Student Union, and the business school at Texas Christian University. He has also designed a number of corporate facilities as well, such as the Target Corp. headquarters in Minneapolis, Minn. and the MGM Casino in Las Vegas. The University Center was his first project for Pacific.
Learn more about the DeRosa University Center, including current events at: http://go.pacific.edu/university_center