Education Design Showcase: Project of Distinction Winner 2009 – Valdosta State University Hopper Hall

July 2, 2009

At the pinnacle of growth on the Valdosta State University campus stands the new Hopper Hall residential housing community. Sitting on just under two and one-half acres, the replacement facility for the original Hopper Hall stands four stories tall, postured by a pair of grand towers that frame the entrance to the central courtyard. Boasting 514 beds in suite-style rooms, Hopper Hall offers today’s contemporary students a leading-edge living and learning environment. The campus mailroom, residence life offices, campus newspaper and radio station can all be found within the building as well as a full-service dining facility. Students find leisure in the intricately designed courtyard that features mature palm trees, spacious pedestrian walkways, sitting areas and a wooden arbor perfect for a small gathering. The exterior facade of hard stucco and a red tile roof is designed to complement the existing Spanish Mission architecture of the campus.

The University and Housing Department staff was challenged in this project to find the best solution for replacing old, outdated dorm units with more desirable suite-style rooms. Completing the project under an aggressive schedule and remaining within a firm budget were also important factors in the program design. The Development Team embraced these challenges and provided an end product that well exceeded expectations of the University and its students.

The Project

The new Hopper Hall is a replacement building, adding over 300 beds to Valdosta State University’s on-campus housing inventory. The original two-story residence hall consisting of of 200 beds and 38,651 SF was first constructed in 1966 as a women’s dormitory. Forty-two years later, the University proudly introduced the new Hopper Hall, a four-story building providing 514 beds and over 157,000 SF, while incorporating the same two and one-half acre site used by the original facility. With limited real estate, remaining within comparable acreage and employing existing resources was a key factor in the new design.

“The Hopper Hall replacement is the first of eight projects scheduled to be completed within the next two years, representing an excess of $150 million in capital construction,” said Rob Kellner, director of Auxiliary Services. “It provides suite-style housing, something that current students have been requesting and provides new recruiting options.”

In addition to the residential areas, Hopper Hall also features a 188-seat Euro-style show kitchen in an open-market concept that provides a variety of dining options with easy access and convenience. Among architecture inspired by nature, students make their dining selection from the international Wok station, made to order omelets, specialty salads and daily premium entrées from the grill. Other functions within the single building community include amenity areas for the building residents, classroom space, a 2,500 box campus mailroom, campus newspaper office and radio station as well as offices for Greek Life, SGA and other college staff.

The new Hopper Hall was funded through a public/private venture between RISE and Valdosta State University’s Auxiliary Services Real Estate Foundation, Inc.

The Interior

The new residence hall includes single and double occupancy suite-style rooms that provide students adequate privacy for focused study with all the modern conveniences, while located in the social and well-structured atmosphere of a contemporary on-campus residence hall setting. This layout has proven to create and reinforce a healthy balance between privacy and community. Professional Staff apartments and Resident Advisor suites are evenly distributed throughout the living areas to enhance resident life as well as safety.

All student and resident advisor suites have fully furnished bedrooms with a three drawer dresser, single bed with extra long mattress and under-the-bed storage, solid wood computer desk and two-position chair. The furniture is moveable to allow for several different room configurations. Each bathroom includes a toilet and bath/shower or a separate shower and toilet area. All student units have a separate vanity outside the bathroom area to allow for use of multiple bathroom amenities by the residents at similar times. Each unit is equipped with the electrical, telephone, cable TV and internet connectivity required for 21st century student housing.

Professional Staff units have a common living space that is fully furnished with a dining table and four chairs, sofa, lounge chairs, coffee table, end tables, television and ceiling fan. Each unit has a full kitchen with refrigerator, dishwasher, four-burner stove, and double sink with disposal. Each bedroom has a full bath. Bedrooms are fully furnished with a dresser, double bed with mattress and under-the-bed storage, solid wood computer desk, two-position chair and ceiling fan. All bedrooms are wired for high-speed internet and CATV service. All units include a phone jack in the common area. Laundry areas with washers and dryers are located on each floor and are accessible by Valdosta State University’s one-card access controllers. Multipurpose rooms with attached kitchens and study rooms in various sizes are located throughout the residential floors for resident use.

The residential common areas and amenities found on the ground floor of Hopper Hall are located inside the southwest tower entry and include a community lounge with high quality furnishings and plasma televisions. Adjacent to the lounge is a full kitchen with double-compartment sink/disposal, stove with hood, microwave, dishwasher, countertop, and wall cabinets. There is also a game room with a full-size pool table and ping-pong table connected to the kitchen as well as an entry off of the main hallway. Three fully furnished administrative offices and a smart classroom are located adjacent to this ground floor entry area. Restroom facilities as well as a reception desk are also provided in this area. In addition, a second tower entry (northwest) is situated adjacent to the main residential entry tower. This entrance is camera monitored and provides stair and elevator access for vertical circulation to the residential floors above.

The Exterior

The exterior of Hopper Hall is designed to complement the existing Spanish Mission architecture found on campus. The striking design features a full hard coat stucco facade with a red clay barrel tile roof, which is prevalent throughout the college grounds. The single residential building wraps around a landscaped courtyard and is framed with matching tower entry elements that provide centralized and monitored access points into the interior as well as entrance into the courtyard. Outdoor amenities include a fountain, extensive use of pavers and an outdoor seating area adjacent to the dining facility. Site lighting is designed to provide safe, well-lit areas in and around the development and adjacent parking area. Emergency “blue light” phones are also strategically located around the housing development.

In addition to maximizing the efficient use of campus grounds, Hopper Hall also has many environmentally sensitive principles incorporated into its design. Site planning for the facility assumed parking would be accommodated by a nearby parking deck which allowed for adjacent impervious areas of paving to be replaced with grass and native landscaping, preventing the development from increasing stormwater discharge from the site. All storm water is captured in underground vaults on site. Energy efficiency was maximized by the building design by using a centralized HVAC system which reused an existing chiller from the original residence hall. A Siemens energy management system was also incorporated into the facility and is monitored by Valdosta State University’s Physical Plant in order to ensure the community maintains optimal energy efficiency.

During the design process, the development of the north quadrant of campus was given great attention. The plan was designed to fit into the existing topography of campus with minimal impact on vegetation and the environment. The design team also used an “open versus closed” approach when appointing building locations, which is evident in the attached master site plan. The placement of Hopper Hall, the entry towers, serves as a campus beacon, opening into the heart of campus. Students can easily access the residence hall from high populated areas such as the new Student Union, Palms dining hall, classroom and learning facilities as well as surrounding residence halls. Circulation routes and outdoor spaces surrounding the building provide both informal and formal opportunities for students to interact with one another. In essence, the site selection and design solidifies Hopper Hall as a vibrant community, alive with energy, excitement and learning.

Project Description:
1) Control of Institution: Private: Not for Profit
2) Type of Institution: Traditional


Methodology & Standards:
District/Institution Decision; Life-cycle Costs

Funding Method(s):
Primary Source: Alternative Source; Primary Source: Revenue Bonds
Alternative Sources: Secondary: Public-Private Partnership

Project Delivery Method(s):

Sustainable/Green Design:
Site Selection and Development: Site Selection; Stormwater Management; Heat Island Reduction
Energy Efficiency and Conservation: Energy Efficiency; Building Automation/Energy Management Systems


Niles Bolton Associates
Ken Ramsey
3060 Peachtree Road
Suite 600
Atlanta, GA 30305
(404) 365-7600
Associated Firms and Consultants:
Interior Design: Niles Bolton Associates (Megan McKinney)
Landscape Architecture: Ganas Landscape Design (Brett Ganas)
Construction/Project Management: Carter & Associates (John Jokerst)
General Contractor: Juneau Construction Company (Todd Weldon)
Structural Engineer: Structural Consulting Group (John Flanigan)
Electrical Engineer: Ingenuity (David Green)
Mechanical Engineer: Ingenuity (David Green)
Civil Engineer: Lovell Engineering Associates (Jeff Lovell)
Technology Consultant: Boruff Electric (Dean Boruff)
Safety Consultant: Risk Management Partners
Food Service/Kitchen Consultant: Sodexho (Scott Hoover)
Environmental Consultant: Lovell Engineering Associates (Jeff Lovell)
Other: Developer – RISE (Charles Perry); Waterproofing Consultant (Chris Norris); Construction Materials Testing – TTL (Matt Gaston)

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