Making History in a New Alumni Center

Making History in a New Alumni Center

As an historic building, the Carnegie Alumni Center at Grove City College presented a unique challenge to the architects at Pittsburgh-based IKM. The Carnegie building, originally constructed in 1900, is the oldest publicly used building on the Grove City campus. It was originally built as a library for both the College and community and funded by industrialist and philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie.

IKM was commissioned to provide an initial design study to address how to best use this facility for the Alumni Association. The resulting report and conceptual designs encompassed 12,600 square feet of complete interior renovation and a 6,200 square foot addition to the existing Alumni Center. 

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“The real challenge was not only fitting all of the programmatic aspects within the existing building envelope, but also designing the addition to respect the architecture of this great, historic building,” said John Schrott, AIA, President of IKM, and principal in charge of the project.  “Working with the College, we opted to support the functional and accessibility requirements in the addition. This enables us to create an attractive design solution preserving the integrity of the historic structure, while satisfying the client’s budget requirements.”  

A knowledge-based practice, IKM called upon its experience designing other alumni centers, as well as numerous education and conference facilities, university buildings, and corporate interiors to guide design solutions for the Carnegie Center project.

IKM worked in conjunction with a core team of representatives from the College, including Alumni representatives, Trustees and staff to develop the appropriate space program in an interactive, iterative process.

The Center will maintain its Early 20th Century architecture while upgrading the interior. Welcoming and reception for alumni gatherings and events, functional office space and a showcase for the artifacts and history of the College are all planned for the space.

The ground level will be home to the College Communications office, a staging kitchen, and conference rooms. The main level will feature a multi-purpose reception/conference area for pre- and post-event functions and dining space for 120 people. Access to an outdoor terrace expands opportunities for alumni events. In addition, an outdoor seating area with fireplace will accommodate smaller groups. The third level will provide new offices for Alumni Relations and Development.

As a multi-purpose building, it served as the cornerstone of the lower campus for many years. According to College president, Richard G. Jewel, the renovation of the Carnegie will bring “real life back to the heart of where the [Grove City College] campus began.”

  The Alumni Association president remarked, “ Thousands of alumni visit their alma mater every year, and Carnegie will now be the place where they gather and reminisce.”