WVSOM’s Student Center receives design recognition

The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine’s (WVSOM) new Student Center has been nationally recognized for its architectural design.

The building’s design won an “Outstanding Project” award from Learning By Design magazine for “best novel approaches to supporting learning, collaboration and connection between the human spirit and education design.” The architecture firm Woolpert, with headquarters in North Carolina, was responsible for creating the design. The company was recognized among 59 others for projects ranging from Pre-K school designs to university facilities.

“The completion of the Student Center was a tremendous accomplishment for the school,” said Larry Ware, WVSOM’s vice president for finance and facilities. “The center adds a visual feature to the campus and city with its 125-foot clock tower and the multipurpose auditorium provides a wonderful asset to both the campus and community.”

David Welling, Woolpert’s architect project manager, said it was an honor to be bestowed with the award recognition. The Student Center’s design, which presented a unique opportunity to combine old with new — the former Greenbrier Military School with newer technology buildings on WVSOM’s campus — was intriguing to Welling as a project manager.

“The Student Center is such a unique building,” he said. “We worked toward a vernacular of materials that would be contextually appropriate on campus … We tried to use a brick that was compatible with the other buildings on campus and tried to find a brick family that would be complimentary to the campus. The Student Center acts as a bridge, or connector piece, between the various components you find on WVSOM’s campus to tie it all together.”

The Student Center has informally been referred to as the “heart of campus life” for WVSOM students, Ware said, reiterating that there is a perfect blend of old plus new.

“Though its style is somewhat modern with its glass window front, the architect’s use of limestone and brick for exterior finishes makes the building fit right in with the style of our other historic buildings,” Ware said.

The Student Center’s conception to completion took place during the course of about three years, with two years dedicated to its construction. Welling said, that as an architect, one of the best phases of a project is when it all comes to fruition.

“One of the days I love is when the facility is accepted by the university and they get to start using the building,” he said. “So much energy, time and dedication has been put into these projects by the school’s leadership, design team of highly talented people and then the construction crew, who has a tough job of getting the facility built right. The Student Center is a facility that the school and community can be proud of.”