A new six-story, glass-façade building will soon rise above the intersection that now marks the entrance to Kean University’s campus in Union, serving as a gateway to the state’s third-largest public university.
Plans for the 102,275-square-foot, mixed-use building at Morris Avenue and Green Lane were announced Thursday by Gruskin Group, the Springfield-based design firm that was awarded the project. The firm said the building will welcome visitors, employees and many of the university’s 16,000 students, while also serving as a home for the institution’s new Robert Busch School of Design and expanding business programs.
University officials could not immediately provide the cost of the project, which is expected to be completed by the 2013 fall semester.
The facility, which will incorporate modern design features such as an undulating glass façade, will house a café and retail space on the first floor, according to the designers. Floors two through five will have classroom and administration space, while a conference center and rooftop terrace will occupy the sixth floor.
The site is now home to a one-story facility that last housed the campus police department, said university spokesman Matthew Caruso. Demolition of the building, which has been unoccupied for several years, is scheduled to begin next month.
“There’s not too much available space for us on campus anymore. It is one of our main entrances to the campus, and we were really pushing this whole strategic partnership,” Caruso said. “We’re trying to make the most of the actual space, take advantage of it and build up a home for our business college and design school.”
Views of campus, Manhattan
Communications director Stephen Hudik said the university has been looking to develop the property for some time. In recent years, he said, the university has renovated its East Campus, in Union, and built two new residence halls and its New Jersey Center for Science, Technology and Mathematics.
Aside from the new facility’s glass façade, an opaque tower along Morris Avenue will align with the grid that guided the university’s original buildings, the design firm said. A second tower will resemble the design of the main campus, while the third will have a vertical plane that faces Kean’s athletic fields and facilities.
The building will be topped by a circular conference center space that offers views of the campus and the New York skyline. The roof terrace also will be accessible to students and guests, while a planned promenade along Morris Avenue will connect the main campus to the Green Lane academic entrance.
Kenneth A. Gruskin, principal and founder of Gruskin Group, said the firm’s objective is to make a “bold architectural statement” that tells visitors “that they are about to experience something unique upon entering the campus.”