Monthly Archives: May 2013

CHBS Building Blog – Installment I

By CHBS Dean’s Office

Building SiteJames Madison University is in the process of constructing a new building for the College of Health and Behavioral Studies (CHBS) on the site of Montpelier Hall, the former East Tower of Rockingham Memorial Hospital. The new building will become the primary home for much of the college and will include the departments of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Health Sciences, Nursing, and Social Work. The building will include faculty offices, teaching and research laboratories, and most classrooms used by these departments. It will also include the offices of the Dean and Creative Services. The building supports significant community outreach through clinics and meeting spaces. The building is designed to provide visibility for the programs and activities within these units and promote the unique identity of CHBS

This is the first installment of a blog regarding our building project.  This blog will be periodically updated as the project progresses.

The building is being designed by EYP Architecture & Engineering, an award-winning integrated design firm that specializes in sustainable projects for government, healthcare, science & technology, industry as well as higher education.. The firm strives to design spaces that influence and enrich the lives of the people who use the environments that are carefully planned. Engaging our future building occupants in an active planning process has been underway since January 2013.

Discussing the BuildingThis planning process included many meetings with future building occupants and JMU leaders as an inventory of spaces was developed.  Conversations focused on identifying the unique purposes of the building.  Exercises led by EYP helped us determine how individual building components might be organized to meet collective aspirations.  Key organizational drivers included:

  • Creation of departmental identities
  • Encouraging connections among building occupants through use of shared spaces and mixing individuals across floors
  • Building of communities
  • Distributing informal learning spaces throughout the building
  • Activating each floor, and extensively using natural light

Design considerations include critical adjacencies, inter-professional engagement, the design of formal and informal learning spaces, identity/visibility for the College and individual departments, relationships to the community, accessibility, natural light and views, among other factors.

Significant attention has focused on the optimal site placement and overall design of our building.  A building with six floors totaling 150,000 gross square feet is being planned.  The shape of the building is being optimized to maximize the number of rooms that can have windows.  Placement of the building on the site was carefully planned to consider current and potential future adjacent structures, solar orientation and prevailing winds, and the optimization of views.  Building entrances will permit easy access from the Bluestone campus and from the community.

Orientation Discussion 3 Building Site