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University develops plans for new academic buildings

By the year 2000, the Wilson School and the E-Quad will each receive a new, modern building equipped for the 21st century.

The University recently named the architects for a structure that will house part of the Wilson School and much of the sociology department. Also in development are separate plans for a building to serve as a "gateway" to the E-Quad. Both will contain classrooms and libraries to meet the expanding needs of the University.

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According to Vice President for Finance and Administration Dick Spies GS '72, the University is still seeking major donors for the buildings.

A Philadelphia firm, Bohlin, Cywinski, Jackson, will take on the project. The principal architect, Simon Tickell, said the new Wilson School-sociology building will contain faculty offices, research assistant space, a library and two or three classrooms.

Eighty percent of the structure will serve the Wilson School, and the remainder will be allocated to the sociology department and the Office of Population Research, Tickell said.

"One of the main goals is a collaborative arrangement of spaces so that research assistants can be nearer their faculty advisors" and to improve the sense of an "academic community (where) faculty and students will come together," Tickell said.

'Still evolving'

Spies said design plans for the social science building are currently being finalized. The approximately 75,000-square-foot structure is estimated to cost more than $20 million, Provost Jeremiah Ostriker said.

The building will have four levels – three above ground and a basement below. The lowest level will contain the library, which will serve both research and reserve purposes, said Tickell, adding that the design will try to make the underground floor "as pleasant as possible" by connecting it to a two-story atrium.

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"People shouldn't feel like the library is secluded," said Tickell.

The new building will open onto McCosh Walk, and although the "style is still evolving," it will incorporate elements of Corwin's brick style and Scudder Plaza's limestone construction to make "a more graceful connection" with easy access for students, Tickell said.

Engineering building

Just down the road from the new social sciences building on McCosh Walk will be a "gateway to the Engineering school," said Andrew Appel, a computer science professor who heads the planning committee for the new building.

The estimated 65,000-square-foot building will incorporate the current computer science building in "a U-shape opening to McCosh Walk" and will house an engineering library, computer clusters, classrooms, a large auditorium and a "pleasant informal space," Appel said.

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Though stylistic plans are far from complete, the architectural firm Pei, Cobb, Freed has been commissioned for the project.

Appel said Pei, Cobb, Freed is widely admired for its recent academic buildings, such as the business school at UCLA and the engineering school at Stanford University.

The new engineering building is currently in the "program" stage of planning, explained Appel, who said exact plans should be finalized this semester.

Appel stressed the importance of the library in the new building. He said the structure's primary purpose will be to "integrate (the) library into instructional space."

"We want to make a model for what libraries should be in the information age," Appel said. "It should be a really nice building."

(Staff writer Heather Swanson contributed to this article.)

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