Facility Focus (Campus Welcome Centers)

University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh: Alumni Welcome and Conference Center

University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh: Alumni Welcome and Conference Center

PHOTOS © DON STOLLEY/STOLLEY STUDIO

The UW–Oshkosh Alumni Welcome and Conference Center serves as the new “front door” to the university, while also providing an enhanced conference and visitor’s center for the campus and extended Oshkosh communities. The 40,000-gross-squarefoot facility, designed by Uihlein/Wilson Architects of Milwaukee, houses UW–Oshkosh Alumni Relations, Foundation and Business Success Center offices.

The Center features a Campus Concierge desk area and Great Hall that serves as the first point of contact for visitors. The building offers a 430-seat divisible banquet hall with floor-to-ceiling windows and four breakout spaces that are designed for flexibility and for groups of up to 40 people.

Also included are over 7,000 square feet of new office space for the university’s Foundation, Alumni Relations, Phone-athon Center and Admissions Department. Interior office suites on the second floor are located along the building perimeter to maximize views, with the Alumni Relations office overlooking into the Great Hall to borrow daylight. A 40-person executive boardroom features state-of-the-art technology, and outdoor function areas including a roof deck, brick patio and gas fire pit. Use of regional materials throughout the exterior and interior finishes are key factors that contributed to the project’s LEED Gold certification.

Challenges the project presented included the construction of the foundations on piles, and accommodating the building program without a basement. The required volume of space for the banquet hall allowed for the mechanical spaces to be designed into a mezzanine space between the building’s two floors, which saved cost on overall size and exterior enclosure materials. Castellated beams spanning the banquet hall allowed for the integration of mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protections systems within the depth of structural frame and maximized the volume of the event space. Careful planning for required fire lane access helped preserve the pedestrian nature of this “building in the park.”

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2016 issue of College Planning & Management.

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