CSB’s Centennial Commons is celebrating its official dedication ceremony from 3:30-5:30 p.m. today. There will be a short (20 minute) program, followed by an official institutional blessing of the buildings by the Sisters whose names were chosen to represent the buildings and those will who enter or live in the buildings now and in the future.
Students, staff, Sisters, those involved in the planning, the CSB President, her cabinet and members of the CSB board of trustees all are expected to attend, and all are welcome join together in prayers and song.
The Centennial Commons are CSB’s newest two-story townhome-style residential facilities for seniors. The apartments come fully furnished and each holds up to four students. There is also a Commons Building intended to stand as an iconic transition point between the community and the larger campus.
“I would not compare our CSB town homes to the SJU town homes, as ours are more closely designed to be town homes you would rent off campus, not the multi-layered and stacked approach at Flynntown,” said St. Ben’s Vice President of Student Development Mary Geller.
This space holds a community gathering space which includes a kitchen, study rooms and a computer lab. Geller explained that the design for the buildings was expressly influenced by student feedback, and the exterior aesthetics were drawn from a Campus Housing magazine which had been exploring new building designs.
“That said, the design is expressly influenced by student feedback we received and requested at the beginning of the design process,” Geller said. “If anyone remembers putting colored “dots” on photos two years ago, they helped influence the design. The idea for the exterior look came from a Campus Housing magazine that discussed new building designs.”
Marketing manager at the architectural firm behind the project, Kathy Tait, echoed the importance of the residential-style living conditions for the design goals. Although it is not common for college residence life to give an entire house to their students to live in for the year, the design was chosen very specifically to support CSB seniors’ transition from college life towards the responsibilities of ‘real-world’ living.
It is expected that students will develop independence and an increased understanding of ‘real-world’ living responsibilities by being responsible for maintaining the homes, monitoring utility use and helping with everyday tasks such as snow removal.
Maintaining CSB’s sustainable living standards played a major role in the construction of the buildings. For example, Project Manager Nate Miller explained that the materials chosen were durable, long-lasting and from local and regional locations.
The orientation of the buildings was also considered in order to take advantage of sunlight, most specifically for the summer months when the houses could be used to house business people and conference participants. All decisions were designed to achieve a minimum of LEED Silver certification for both the homes and the commons building.
Miller was very happy with the way his team worked together and alongside St. Bens administrators. He is also very satisfied with the results.
“We achieved the design goals and schedule we set out to achieve and (mostly) within budget,” Miller said.