Cascade Hall, Improved University Center Revitalize Heart of Campus

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The heart of Pacific University's Forest Grove Campus experienced a revitalizing transformation in a mere 11 months, thanks to the addition of the Cascade Hall residence and a refreshed University Center.

As part of Homecoming 2014, alumni, students and friends of the university celebrated the new building and rejuvenated hub of campus at a dedication ceremony and reception on Friday, Oct. 3.

President Lesley Hallick thanked all of the projects' partners, including Aramark, Inici Group, Mahlum, Walsh Construction Co. and Opsis Architecture.

In doing so, she praised the synergy of the entities who helped transform the campus in the spirit of a common goal: provide an optimal environment for students to live, learn and flourish.

Designed by Mahlum and constructed by Walsh under the direction of Inici, Cascade Hall is a four-story 200-bed residence for undergraduate freshmen and sophomores that opened in August and sits adjacent to the University Center.

"Together, we have created a world-class facility that we hope will live up to President Hallick's personal commitment to deliver on the promise of an intimate, personalized education today and for years to come," said Mahlum president Kurt Haapala.

Cascade's innovative and environmentally friendly design ensures that students have a myriad of amenities available, including wireless internet and flatscreen televisions throughout the building, as well as state-of-the-art lounge space, study areas, kitchens and laundry facilities. It has been constructed with a target of LEED gold certification, and features high-efficient lighting and climate control, as well as water efficient plumbing and landscaping.

And even though it includes all of the latest advances in energy design, the building's appearance is what embodies sustainability, Walsh's Ryan Wilde said.

"It's iconic, it's enduring, and like other buildings on campus such as Marsh Hall, it will serve students for years and years to come," he said.

The close proximity of Cascade Hall to the University Center is strategic, Hallick said. "We are trying to induce freshmen and sophomores to form more groups of friends and interact," she said. "It's designed to be in the center of campus and the heart of the community. As we grow to our target of 2,000 undergraduate students on this campus, we are focused on right-sizing the community to sustain that intimate environment, which includes small classrooms and the ease of students getting to know their faculty. Students are at the heart of what we do."

Designed by Opsis Architecture and constructed by Walsh under the direction of Inici, the refreshed University Center now offers students, as well as employees and guests, a brighter, more spacious place to dine, socialize, study and conduct meetings.

A central skylight illuminates The Grove dining commons with natural light. Additional patio space on the exterior, as well as a reconfigured interior lounge has expanded the building's seating capacity. A new Boxer Pause, formerly the Alumni Room, provides even more lounge space for students. And the addition of a fully licensed Starbucks, university bookstore and POD Market convenience store provide an array of retail options that were not previously available on campus, one of which is POD's Jamba Juice smoothie machine. 

The $7.5 million building refresh began and completed in just over four months, a remarkable pace made possible in part by the classic structure of the 50 year-old-building, said Opsis' Matt Jacoby. "The 'bones' of this building are fabulous and we didn't have to modify the actual structure much," he said.

Mindy Cameron '65, chair of the university's Board of Trustees, was a student when the University Center first opened in 1964. She reflected on her experiences and looked forward to the UC's future.

"It is where we gathered, had a good time and learned how to become friends and adults. Now in its new stage it will continue to be the same, but it also has a very strategic purpose. We're in a competitive environment and now that we can show prospective students a new gathering place like this, we have a competitive advantage. I'm so glad to see this part of my Pacific experience get this new life and for all of the next generations of students to be a part of this.

Student Senate president Olin Blackmore '15, agreed. "This is quite a momentous occasion," he said. "From day one, the administration wanted a great deal of student input on this project. Our voices were heard, applied and valued. The new UC truly means a new Pacific University. Today is both an exciting and rejuvenating day to be a Boxer."

Oct. 7, 2014