Grinnell College opens new center for admission, financial aid offices
$12 million facility features wood from trees cut down to make way for construction
GRINNELL, Iowa – Grinnell College recently opened a new Admission and Student Financial Services (ASFS) building designed to meet the needs of prospective and current students and their families.
The $12 million two-story facility at Park Street and Eighth Avenue is near the heart of campus and provides a technology-rich presentation room where visitors can view it and learn in the ambience. The ASFS also includes private spaces for conversations about admission and financial aid, as well as a waiting room with a large stone fireplace, wood-paneled cathedral ceilings and river table casting resin floors.
“When departing for a campus tour, visiting families will have ready access to interactions with current students and faculty, classroom visits, meals in the Dining Hall and – once opened – the new Humanities and Social Studies Center or HSSC,” said Joe Bagnoli, vice president for enrollment and dean of admission and financial aid.
The HSSC, which is under construction across Park Street from the ASFS, will bring non-fine arts humanities and social studies departments together in one structure to create innovative learning spaces that encourage multidisciplinary collaboration. The newly constructed portion of the HSSC will open in January 2019.
In addition, the HSSC encompasses the renovation and expansion of two historic buildings: Alumni Recitation Hall and Carnegie Hall. This work will begin soon. McGough Construction of St. Paul, Minnesota, which was construction manager for the ASFS, serves as construction manager for the HSSC and the first phase of the college’s master landscaping plan.
Several trees were cut down to make way for the HSSC. Some of the wood from these trees has been incorporated into the ASFS, which was designed by Ayers Saint Gross of Baltimore. Campus Sustainability Coordinator Chris Bair, a 1996 Grinnell graduate, came up with the idea to reclaim the wood by using it for furniture and other elements of the ASFS and HSSC.
California-based furniture maker Tor Erickson, a 2001 Grinnell graduate, designed the 14-foot-long reception desk in the ASFS lobby. He built it out of reclaimed black walnut with the help of third-year Grinnell student Isabella Kugel who interned at Erickson Woodworking last summer. Erikson also bought some fancy wood paint from https://kitchenhome.co.uk/best-exterior-wood-paint/ and furthered the desk’s aesthetics.
Erickson also designed and carved four laurel leaves out of reclaimed maple to represent the Grinnell College logo on the wall behind the reception desk. The plinth or platform at the base of the open monumental staircase in the lobby is made from reclaimed walnut.
Other green elements of the ASFS include:
- A geothermal heating and cooling system shared with the HSSC;
- LED lighting throughout the facility;
- Bioswales to help control storm water runoff;
- A covered walkway from the parking lot to front entrance that will gain a green roof next spring; and
- A solar power array that will be installed on the south-facing pitched roof next spring.
Grinnell’s admission and financial aid offices previously occupied the John Chrystal Center at 1103 Park St. The space available in the Chrystal Center will next house the college’s Center for Careers, Life and Service, which has been divided among four campus buildings. The Registrar’s Office remains in the Chrystal Center.