East Tennessee State University

Johnson City,

University Center Planning Assessment

East Tennessee State University’s vision statement is “to become the best regional university in the nation.” To help the school progress further down this path, it partnered with Brailsford & Dunlavey in the spring of 2016 to define plans for constructing new space in its Culp Center― the campus’ student union―and renovating its interior. The planned 30,207 square foot addition to the Center, built in 1976, would add space for food service, a media center, a student lounge, and miscellaneous other administrative functions, and the renovations would enhance food service, recreation, and student access. At an approximate cost of $31.9 million, the project was identified in the University’s master plan as a primary area of need.

B&D guided University leaders through a project definition process that included student/faculty/staff focus groups, steering committee meetings, collaborative work sessions, food service programmer and provider collaboration, national benchmarking studies, and a tour of existing facilities to achieve integration of new programmatic elements into ongoing operations.

After synthesizing its research and analyses, B&D programmed the re-envisioned union to include new conference and meeting rooms, lounge spaces, organization and activity spaces, a new media center, exterior walks, and an outdoor lounge and dining terrace. In addition, existing meeting rooms, the ballroom, bookstore, and the building entryways were programmed to receive substantial upgrades and renovations. Detailed programming sheets were presented in three ‘buckets’ of programmatic elements and information:

• New or relocated spaces
• Renovated-in-place spaces
• Untouched / not-in-scope spaces

B&D chose this format to guide the subsequent phases of design in keeping with the anticipated level of construction and budgetary plans.