Augustana Moves Forward With Newest Building Project

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Constructions crews are hard at work over at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, where the school is nearly halfway done with its newest building - the Center for Student Life.

The project includes two parts...

1) ...a complete transformation of the college's library with new offices for the Office of Student Activities, Office of Multicultural Services, and the Reading and Writing Center.

2) ...a 35,000 square foot addition including a new dining hall and multipurpose room.

It's a project 3 years in the making that school leaders hope will set Augustana apart.

"One of the visions that we hope to fulfill is that this becomes a place where students go to see and be seen," says Kent Barnds, Augustana's Vice President of Enrollment, Communication, and Planning. "We've never seen the combination of things that are going to be in Augustana`s Center for Student Life and we think it will be very attractive to students, particularly those students who are looking for a higher quality residential liberal arts college experience."

That experience is being put into place faster with a 3D, state-of-the-art system called Building Information Modeling, or BIM.

"What that`s allowing us to do is erect the building with less fabrication issues," says Brian Hebgren, Senior Project Manager with Russell Construction. "Pieces are coming out to the job site and they're fitting. It’s saving Augustana money and we’re able to erect the building quicker. You're saving over 90% of any waste you would have in the project versus building it the best you can on paper and then coming out here and trying to make everything fit."

And Hebgren says that's important for a project not about quantity, but complexity. The multipurpose room will be a large area with no columns so it can hold up to 700 people.

"It’s going to be a huge, clear span area that has essentially two bridge trusses that come out that support the floor structure above," says Hebgren.

Barnds says the Center for Student Life will be ready for students in August 2013.

"We’ve not seen another model like this and we’re really excited about doing it at Augustana."

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