As part of a strategic initiative to increase enrollment from the current 8,000 students to 12,000, this new facility will improve the University’s ability to attract students and improve matriculation rates among those that visit campus. Recently constructed facility improvements including new student housing, an expansion and renovation to the student recreation center, and an expansion to the renowned student design center have received high praise from students; however, their location across US Highway 63 makes them too remote for campus tours. In addition, campus recruiting and on-boarding events occur primarily in three separate facilities on campus: Parker Hall, Havener Center, and Leach Theater.
The first impressions of the campus must be welcoming and memorable. Much of the exciting work happening at S&T occurs inside its facilities. Prospective students need to be able to better imagine their academic and social lives at S&T and how they will be a part of the S&T community. In order to attract more of its undergraduate students to remain at S&T for graduate studies, the graduate student experience needs to be more compelling and attractive from the academic/research side and the experiential side. Attracting international students to campus will also be important, especially to meet the graduate/post-doc level enrollment goals. They too should feel a sense of welcome on campus. Campus resources should be easy to access and basic services (global foods, housing, recreation and transit options) should be convenient and proximate to campus.
In addition to becoming a “destination of choice” for undergraduate and graduate students, enhancements to campus can also support the essential recruitment and retention of top faculty and staff. Being a small midwestern town, Rolla does not offer the variety of amenities and services that might be available at larger, more urban campuses. However, the city of Rolla and the University have a strong relationship. Working together strategically, S&T and Rolla can make living in Rolla more attractive to prospective faculty and staff. Quality of life amenities like parks, trails, transit, arts and entertainment, schools, childcare, and healthcare can all contribute to making S&T more attractive to prospective job candidates and their families. Many of the facilities and infrastructure that support these amenities can be moments of town-gown partnerships that benefit S&T and the Rolla community.
The vision for this new Welcome Center facility will combine the uses of these three facilities into a single, highly branded environment, that is prominently located in a new campus arrival district. It will be equipped with high quality audio/visual technology combined with static and interactive exhibits that tell the story of Missouri S&T. These multimedia exhibits will expose visitors to the richness of student life on campus, exceptional facilities, and programs that a campus tour may not include, and the remarkable achievements of alumni. Undoubtedly, the facility will also provide a branded environment for a variety of other community outreach events, such as press conferences, open houses, visits from the governor, lectures, fundraising dinners, institutional celebrations, training, or other noteworthy events. The design of the facility itself will celebrate the rich history of the institution while expressing aspirational optimism for the future of the modern world. The architecture will be expressive, sustainable, and welcoming with strong connections between inside and outside.
Program Study By: Dake Wells Architecture