“Buildings should be good neighbors.” That’s a quote from architect Paul Thiry, who is credited with bringing modernism to the Pacific Northwest, but it could be used to describe the construction and renovation boom at Wofford over the past six years.
“Every new and renovated space gives attention to detail and scale,” says President Nayef Samhat. “Our first new buildings — the Rosalind Sallenger Richardson Center for the Arts, the Stewart H. Johnson Greek Village and the Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium — fit seamlessly into Wofford’s historic campus. They look like they have been here for decades.”
Admission tour guides hear lots of wows as they walk students and their families through the campus. That’s by design. A beautiful campus that blends old and new gives Wofford a competitive edge in the quest for prospective student interest. Most importantly, attention to student success has been built into each new space, which impacts the experience of students who do become Terriers.
“When we have the opportunity to work on projects at Wofford, we always engage with students, faculty and staff to determine how spaces should be programmed and used within each building,” says Ron Smith, architect, McMillan Pazdan Smith. “By taking the feedback that we receive and by referencing the strong architectural language that has been developed on campus, we are able to begin the process of designing impactful spaces that can serve students for decades to come.”
Jerome Johnson Richardson Hall Opened August 2020
“Architecture is really about well-being. I think that people want to feel good in a space… On the one hand it’s about shelter, but it’s also about pleasure.” Zaha Hadid, British Iraqi architect from Baghdad, known as “Queen of the curve”
This fall, first-year Terriers moved into the new, 150-bed Jerome Johnson Richardson Hall, located just across Campus Drive from other first-year residences, Greene Hall and Marsh Hall.
“Richardson Hall is unique because of the amount of common space,” says Chris Gardner, chief financial officer who worked with architects McMillan Pazdan Smith and construction firm Robbins & Morton to lead this and other major construction projects on campus. He’s referring to the small group study rooms and niches in the lobby and halls designed to promote gathering and relationship development. There’s a kitchen, which fosters interaction, and spacious laundry rooms. Balconies overlook the historic campus in the front and Snyder Field in the back. There’s also a courtyard for games and gathering. The building is accessible with an elevator and several private apartments for students with special needs.
“It’s all about building camaraderie, something especially important in the first year,” Gardner says.
One wing of student rooms faces Russell C. King Field and Switzer Stadium. Another looks out over Snyder field. Both wings have rooms with views of the courtyard. The building stands on the site where Andrews Field House stood until 2019. Because of its proximity to athletics facilities, the first floor of the building houses baseball locker rooms and offices as well as locker rooms and a shared training facility for men’s and women’s golf.
Jerome Johnson Richardson Hall was made possible by a gift from Jerry Richardson ’59. The gift allowed Wofford to move forward with a five-year plan for growth will strategically increase the size of the student body to 1,800 students, improved campus infrastructure and continued innovations to the academic program.
The Chandler Center for Environmental Studies Opened September 2020
“The future of architecture lies in it being ecologically sensitive wherein it incorporates water, waste, energy, biodiversity, food and resources to build with.” Chitra Vishwanath, an Indian architect who works on themes related to ecology and architecture
Students and faculty who moved into the new Chandler Center for Environmental Studies this fall found gorgeous natural light, spectacular views of Main Building and flexible lab spaces. The building earned Green Globe Certification (three globes) for project management, the use of green building products, storm drain protection measures, waste-diversion planning, energy-efficient design and the use of low-emission appliances.
The new center for environmental studies was made possible by a gift from Delores and Harold Chandler ’71.
“Sustainability is one of the college’s core values,” says Gardner. “The building is tied to the college’s energy dashboard, so students can see how the solar panels change the energy profile of the building. There’s a green roof, a new food lab, a computer lab, a water lab and a soils lab, in addition to a large classroom space that can be divided in half or left open for a large group.”
The Chandler Center links the college’s environmental studies program to the Glendale community and Goodall Environmental Studies Center and the Milliken House, a 13-bed living learning residence committed to community-based learning around sustainability in the Northside.
The Sandor Teszler Library Renovations complete Fall 2020
“Architecture is not about space but about time.” Vito Acconci, an influential American performance, video and installation artist, whose diverse practice eventually included sculpture, architectural design and landscape design
The Sandor Teszler Library is Matilda Redfern’s favorite place to study on campus. Redfern ’23, a Spanish and sociology and anthropology major from Atlanta, Ga., likes the library’s varied meeting and studying options — from classrooms to small group spaces to private carrels or tables. The free use of printers, presentation practice areas and equipment, peer tutors and the writing center also are a huge benefit.
“The library is definitely designed for student success,” she says. “All of these resources make the rigor of Wofford classes easier to tackle. I also love the new self-serve snack and coffee bar.”
Library renovations and the development of an academic common was central to the college’s 2014 strategic vision. In addition to supporting student academic engagement, the library also is the home to the Center for Innovation and Learning.
“The library is the place where teachers become better teachers and students become better learners,” says Lisa Roberts, dean of the library. “The renovation was designed to provide more opportunities for collaboration. We’re also proud that the library has a new testing center in conjunction with Accessibility Services so students who need additional time or other accommodations.”
Mungo Student Center Renovations complete Fall 2021
“The job of buildings is to improve human relations: architecture must ease them, not make them worse.” Ralph Erskine, British architect and community planner
The Campus Life Building, which opened in 1980, should have been one of the most popular buildings on campus, but it wasn’t — not until recently, at least.
“We always felt that the Campus Life Building was not reaching its potential. Even after past renovations, it felt dated, more so than it actually was,” says Gardner. That’s no longer the case, but it took the construction of the Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium and the Rosalind Sallenger Richardson Center for the Arts to free up the space to make the Campus Life Building a true hub of student activities.
The building has housed athletics offices, men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball, Wofford Theatre and all of the offices associated with those programs. Now the Division of Campus Life and Student Development has offices on the second floor, and the main floor includes Zach’s with Chick-fil-a and Boars Head Deli; Terrier Grounds, a coffee shop selling Starbucks; a game room; a lobby for studying, gathering and dining; the Campus Post Office and offices for Campus Safety. The concourses of the Benjamin Johnson Arena are student fitness areas (cardio equipment on one side and weights and strength-training equipment on the other). The bleachers have been removed and the three courts, surrounded by a walking track, are open to students for events, intramurals or pick-up games of basketball, volleyball or badminton.
Renovation of the building is still in progress, but when it’s complete, the Tony White Theatre will be redesigned as a flexible meeting space with a mezzanine to accommodate additional meeting and storage space for student organizations.
“It’s become a place for students to congregate, workout, dine and play,” says Gardner.
At the October meeting of the Board of Trustees, trustees honored Maria and Steven Mungo ’81 by naming the Campus Life Building the Mungo Student Center. The Mungos made the renovation and new fitness areas possible with their generous gift.
Burwell Building Renovations complete Fall 2021
“Architecture is basically a container of something. I hope they will enjoy not so much the teacup, but the tea.” Architect Yoshio Taniguchi, from Japan, winner of the competition in 1997 to redesign the Museum of Modern Art in New York
This fall students walked through a tunnel of shipping containers to make their way in and out of the Burwell construction zone to access the college’s main dining hall. The building once housed dining on the second floor, with the kitchen, five meeting rooms, the post office and administrative office space on the first floor. Now, the entire building will be open for dining and meeting.
According to Gardner, architects convened focus groups of students in 2018 to begin planning the renovation. “Students desire more views into the cooking progress, so the renovation will have open kitchen spaces,” he says. “Students with special dietary needs wanted enhanced services, so there will be a clarity station (allergen sensitive) where food is cooked to order.”
The new space will provide more flexibility while retaining the five private meeting rooms that saw frequent use before the renovation.
Wofford’s culinary services partner, AVI Fresh, is funding substantially all of the project costs.
“Culinary programs matter to prospective students and their families. We’re also a component in the satisfaction of current students. That’s why this renovation of the Burwell Building, constructed in 1969, is so important,” says Walter Miller, AVI’s resident district manager. “Our philosophy centers on a Fresh Food Forward model. We have skilled culinarians who prepare beautiful meals from scratch with the freshest ingredients, and soon we’ll have a new facility that makes the dining experience at Wofford second to none.”
Currently the bottom floor is under construction, and the top floor is open for student use. In the spring, when the first floor is complete, dining will flip so Robins and Morton crews can finish the project. The renovations will make the building more accessible and will make better use of outdoor dining opportunities.