When a 2009 planning study identified a campus-wide shortfall in the quantity and quality of student life space, the University of San Francisco used the opportunity to refocus the mission of its existing University Center. With a prominent central location and hillside setting, the “UC” had gone 40 years without a major holistic renovation or repurposing. The brutaliststyle, concrete structure provided challenges to a makeover, with each of its five floors varying in size, shape and orientation to the surrounding campus.
Renovation goals for the 10,800 sf fourth floor and 11,750 sf fifth floor were prioritized through a series of student workshops and staff engagements. The program identified a unique mix of administrative student support with space for student directed clubs and organizations. Since two floors were available, students were eager to be dedicated a floor of their own. As an alternative, staff encouraged a fruitful relationship where students actively engaged with peer mentorship and interaction with student life providers. With space at a premium, not all unique space needs could be met; however through compromise, an opportunity was found to share staff and student needs in common spaces for informal lounges and dedicated meeting spaces. This shared use of common facilities became the framework for the plan.