LEED Silver Certified Seaton Hall and Regnier Hall

APDesign Leed Award

Seaton and Regnier Halls attract design students as future stewards of the environment, as APDesign experiences enrollment growth amid nationwide academic pandemic mode

Seaton and Regnier Halls (the APDesign Facility), home to the College of Architecture, Planning, and Design (APDesign) at Kansas State University, sets a significant example of sustainability in action for design students as future stewards of the environment. With the renovation of the LEED Silver Certified Seaton Hall and Regnier Hall, reflecting the College’s pedagogical goals and stature among national design programs, the College of APDesign has experienced a steady surge of student enrollment and retention rates amid the challenges experienced by colleges and universities across the U.S. in the midst of the Covid pandemic.

The transformation of the APDesign Facility encompassed a comprehensive renovation of the College’s existing facilities in the historic buildings of Seaton East (1908) and Mechanics Hall (1874), now Regnier Hall, and a new connecting addition to support the College’s expanding program needs. The addition is punctuated by a transparent, three-story social container, referred to as “The Jewel,” and an entry courtyard presents a new, inviting face for APDesign and serves as a destination for the Kansas State University campus community.

Tim de Noble, FAIA, professor and dean of APDesign at Kansas State University, notes that Seaton Hall’s transformation aligns with the College’s vision as a model 21st century land-grant program. The new facility supports outreach learning, connections to industry, and the College’s pedagogy and research initiatives with a series of collaborative academic spaces, equipped with supportive technologies and student amenities.

In addition to its welcoming aesthetics and design for campus connection, the APDesign Facility serves as a daily observable example of sustainable design for students who will one day lead the architecture, planning, and design professions. As a LEED Silver Certified facility, the APDesign Facility achieved 50% irrigation demand reduction, 38.3% potable water use reduction, 18% energy reduction, 100% no and low VOC finishes, and 80.1% landfill diversion, among other sustainable metrics throughout the facility’s design and construction. Additionally, the design features sun shading fins, rainwater collection cisterns and bio-swales, vegetated roof areas, abundant daylighting, native plantings, and local materials.

APDesign has experienced a 12% enrollment increase over the last five years, and over 4% student population increase in the past academic year. At 785 students enrolled in the College for the fall 2020 semester, APDesign is at its largest population in the past ten years. In parallel, student retention rates remain high for APDesign with a notable 91% retention rate of freshmen students entering second year programs. This growing student involvement and enrollment in APDesign programs is especially significant as Higher Education navigates the impacts of pandemic mode and notes a 1.8% decline in enrollment rates across institutions in comparison to 2019 [1].

In the fall 2020 semester, APDesign offered a range of course formats to address student and faculty health and well-being during COVID-19, including 103 online sections, 163 hybrid sections, and 105 in-person sections. All students were afforded their studio desks and space throughout the course of the semester, while all shared resources within the APDesign Facility including the library, fabrication facilities, computer labs, experimental living-roof, materials lab and 3-D printing/plotting and laser cutting remained available in support of academic activities. In many ways, the spatial flexibility and versatility Imbedded In the design allowed for the seamless transformation of operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions