Quality higher education requires a dedication to seeing a student as a whole person, as a developing adult ripe with curiosity and promise. With comprehensive programs, PLATO online learning opportunities, and even Peace Corps prep courses, Westfield State University adheres to this novel approach to academia. When looking to create a new residential building, this institution wanted to develop a facility that continues an all-encompassing approach to students.

Designers at ADD Inc. (now part of Stantec) selected Acentech to assist in the development of University Hall, a dynamic environment for WSU students to study and relax. Acentech’s architectural acoustics team provided guidance on the development of a residential hall that needed to paradoxically accomplish two goals: to provide individuals and inviting space to rest after a long day of classes and to foster a collaborative, safe social atmosphere for fun. Proper sound isolation and space planning for these active and passive spaces were key to striking this necessary balance. Reverberation control to mitigate the inevitable sound build-up of chatting students in lounge areas and game rooms also allow these dynamic spaces to remain usable while occupied.

As with the development of most residential facilities, University Hall required a particular focus on wall construction and mechanical system design. Thoughtful design on both of these aspects of this building affords students and visitors privacy and comfort.

This 411 bed, 130,000 SF residential space is much more than a simple dormitory—it is a home away from home for students from all walks of life.

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