HIGHER EDUCATION: West Hall, Middlesex County College

DMR designed West Hall, the new Enrollment Services Center at Middlesex County College. DMR first completed the programming phase, a challenging process which required numerous committee meetings as the college was making a complete change to their business model. DMR then proceeded with design services for the new, 32,000 square foot facility. The new building provides the college's population of more than 13,000 students with a central location for services such as academic advising, financial aid and registrar, as well as multi-purpose space. The building opened in the fall of 2016, and achieved LEED Gold Certification from the United States Green Building Council.

The design of West Hall was an uncommon design project, as the building was designed in support of a complete change to the College's business model, simultaneous to the implementation of this change. This process required DMR to work closely with the College in working through the intricacies and processes entailed in completing and designing a functional facility in support of the "one-stop" mission. The design process of this building required creativity and ingenuity. Key design features that were incorporated included:

• Multi-use functions that could accommodate two different purposes simultaneously: students' accounts and multi-purpose space. This was achieved through the design of the grand lobby, accessible from two entrances, as well as the multi-purpose room, located right off the main entrance. The multi-purpose room, the Parkview Room, also provides a pre-function space to accommodate for large events, without disruption to the student services aspect of the building.
• A welcome desk, which needed to be situated to keep in visual contact with both entrances and student service kiosks.
• 8 kiosks, with a unified queue line, visual indication of the next available kiosk, and the ability of nearly any service to be accommodated at this location.
• A contact center, which functions as a "Tier I" for phone and electronic requests.
• Back-End processing area, which supports administrative work for the entire building.
• "Tier II" administrative offices, which provide space for staff to resolve higher level student issues, while maintaining privacy and efficiency through an internal communication stair.

"We knew how we wanted the new building to function but we didn't know how to create the space to accomplish our goal. DMR Architects did a lot of research and created several plans that evolved into the building we have now, which will increase functionality and communications between departments, and decrease redundancy of efforts and time for students and administrators."

Donald Drost, Jr., Executive Director of Facilities Management, Middlesex County College

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