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Excellence and Engagement at the Heart of Campus

A Campaign to Build a New Academic Building


The new academic building will be an essential tool to keep Warren Wilson College competitive in the 21st century. It will incorporate technology, link the campus and landscape, show that classes and facilities are on par with other small liberal arts institutions, and reflect Warren Wilson’s commitment to educating the whole student.

Throughout its history, a driving strength of the Warren Wilson College experience has been the powerful and lasting relationships that are forged between and among faculty and students. Maintaining a high level of engagement among students is central to the academic experience because it fosters a deeper exploration of subjects and ideas, and creates both a context and a support system that promotes intellectual and personal development. The new academic building will meet the challenges of teaching and learning in the 21st century while championing care for the environment. The design combines the best modern practices in technology and space planning and creates an exceptional learning environment that enables teaching, learning, problem solving, innovation and collaboration. It will also provide one of the few large gathering spaces for the community to come together on campus.

Core Goals

The planned 15,000 square-foot academic building will be constructed at the intersection of two critical campus axes - one connecting the library to the farm and the other linking science labs with the log cabin, which houses Warren Wilson’s signature work program. It will be built in the same location as Carson Hall, a smaller classroom building that was central to the College for 80 years and reached the end of its sustainable use. The new facility will serve future generations and anchor academics in the heart of the campus.

The $6 million project to construct a new academic building will provide:

Flexible learning and meeting spaces Neighborhoods of offices to support faculty-student engagement Living-learning laboratory of sustainability


Championing Academic Excellence The centerpiece of the Warren Wilson College strategic plan, approved by the Board of Trustees in 2016, is to prioritize promoting an academic culture that champions excellence. Both physically and symbolically, the new structure will promote this goal and reflect the College’s vision of offering a strong traditional liberal arts curriculum combined with an innovative compendium of experiential opportunities, including on-campus work, community engagement, internships and international study preparing students for meaningful and impactful lives. The building will house the College’s social science division as well as other programs. Preliminary plans also call for six meeting spaces—ranging from 15-person seminar rooms to a 40-person flex classroom— as well as a large multi-use common atrium. Classes from all College departments will be scheduled in the building. One of the meeting spaces will be configured as a technology hub to support distance learning, video conferencing, language learning and other networking modalities. All walls between meeting spaces will be reconfigurable, allowing the building to accommodate groups as large as 60 (by combining classrooms) to 150 (by opening up the atrium). The new building will be connected to the land and to the world. It will incorporate technology in a way that fits Warren Wilson’s culture. - David Abernathy, Ph.D., Professor of Global Studies


Integrated Space for Faculty Nineteen faculty offices in the new building will be organized as “neighborhoods” near classrooms to encourage greater faculty-student interaction. Lounges in the faculty areas will provide informal collaborative spaces for students engaged in independent or faculty research. An individual, original capstone project is required of all students and is a hallmark of Warren Wilson College’s strong academic program. This type of project requires a high level of interaction among faculty and students, which this building will accommodate.

As we continue to strengthen and enhance the academic culture of the College and our focus on excellence, the new academic building is central to our vision. It is part of a comprehensive strategic plan to provide facilities and opportunities for engaged learning that fully prepare our students and graduates for the future.  - William Christy ‘79, Chair of the Board of Trustees


Living-learning Laboratory of Sustainability The new building will serve as a collaboration hub for campus and a living-learning laboratory of sustainability. Classrooms will be available evenings and weekends for student meeting spaces, dinners, and additional gatherings with alumni, community partners, and other groups. Built to LEED Gold standard, the facility will incorporate technologies allowing students to monitor energy use and other environmental benchmarks. Cutaway panels will allow visitors to examine technologies supporting building operations. Through the College’s work program, student crews will help maintain subsystems, including electrical and plumbing.

My time at the College, especially my internship, was instrumental in helping shape my career goals ... We wanted to give back as a family and thought an investment supporting students would be an excellent use of our nonprofit dollars.  - Danna Baxley ’02, Ph.D., Trustee of the Baxley Foundation




Invigorating the Campus

The academic building is the centerpiece of a campus-wide plan to improve facilities and provide an inspired environment for the campus community to progress. Renovations to infrastructure, as well as residence halls, athletic, arts, academic and student life facilities, will enhance the total student experience. This combination of capital expenditures - a new building and renovated facilities - best addresses current needs while also planning for the future, and maximizes the positive impact of restricted and unrestricted capital funds that are available. A combination of philanthropic support and institutional financing will fund the project. Generous commitments from individuals and foundations already total more than $3.7 million and less than $300,000 is needed to begin construction. The balance of $2 million needed to fully fund the project will come from a long-term loan from the USDA and budgeted expenditures for capital improvements and depreciation.

Budget

The $6 million budget includes:

Construction of the two-story 15,000 square-foot building with landscaped outdoor learning spaces and large patio Furniture IT and AV equipment Design fees Contingency


A Day in the Life of the New Academic Building Imagine you’re a student walking into your sustainable agriculture class at 9:20am on a Wednesday morning. As you cross the threshold of the building, through a wall of windows, you see the farm at the center of an expansive landscape. You engage with your classmates about the way things are done on this working farm and how that connects with what you are learning in your textbooks. You visit the technology hub where the GPS capabilities enable you to map the land and explore farm planning, soil sampling, tractor guidance, crop scouting, variable rate applications, and yield mapping. You discuss your interest in a capstone research project on GPS farm planning with another student and your professor in a small collaboration space across from your classroom, adjacent to the professor’s office. After deciding to focus your research on this topic, you go down the hallway to the advising center where you talk with your advisor about the project and begin exploring possible summer internships in this field. After you leave the building to work on the garden, you return in the evening to see a speaker on regenerative agriculture. Your classroom that held fewer than 40 students that morning has opened up with the atrium to create a huge open space for 150 students, faculty and staff to hear the visiting speaker. This building gives students the ability to study within their field, be inspired by their surroundings, explore research opportunities with other students and professors, and look to the future by connecting with the advising and career center just down the hallway.

The opportunities afforded to faculty, staff and students through the new academic building will be numerous and conducive to success. The building is an essential resource to achieve the three main areas of focus for the strategic plan that will guide the college through 2023: Promote an academic culture championing excellence by celebrating the liberal arts tradition, experiential learning and the College’s values. Ensure every student, in partnership with his or her advisors, actively identifies and creates a customized education plan of classes and experiential learning opportunities leading to meaningful postgraduate outcomes. Nurture a diverse, intellectual and welcoming community and a vibrant, environmentally sustainable campus. Gifts to the new academic building will support our community of big thinkers invested in an exceptional institution with a capacity to change the world. History will ground us, values will be our beacon, and intelligence and hard work will continue to drive us forward. For more information, please contact: Zanne Garland, Acting Vice President for Advancement 828-771-2038, zgarland@warren-wilson.edu


Excellence and Engagement at the Heart of Campus  

A Campaign to Build a New Academic Building at Warren Wilson College

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