The new Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) campus in Auburn University’s Research Park in Auburn, Ala., will open the doors to its first class this fall.
The fact that this building is new construction may surprise many people. The Classical Revival structure by Alabama-based architect Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood (GMC) is designed to tie into the historic architectural fabric of Auburn. As you can see from the picture above, it’s hard to believe this building was not part of the original campus.
VCOM’s mission is to prepare globally-minded, community-focused physicians to meet the needs of rural and medically underserved populations and promote research to improve human health. As part of that mission, one of their goals is to recruit and educate students from socioeconomically depressed regions of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Alabama.
The new 90,400-square-foot facility features four stories of classrooms, small-group learning rooms, laboratories, and a technology center. In addition to the Auburn campus, VCOM also has campuses in Blacksburg, Va., and Spartanburg, S.C.
VCOM had a good sense of what they wanted in the way of a floor plan based on their other facilities. GMC was tasked with transforming that plan into “the best-looking building on the campus.” Apparently, their vision fit that criterion because soon after creating site schematics and renderings they were told to get a contractor and start building.
“We started a movement of designing buildings that fit into the historic fabric now that will still fit 200 years from now,” said Mike Hamrick, architect on the project.
Of course, Classical Revival structures built in the 1700s didn’t have to contend with all the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC equipment that we have today. GMC had a few tricks up their sleeve to hide all that equipment on the roof and maintain the aesthetic of the building.
Instead of creating a wall form on the roof, they designed a reverse slope, so it simply looks like a ridge when looking up from the ground. They also incorporated a rooftop lantern that hides even more of the equipment. “We’re very careful how we handle those details,” said Hamrick.
The plumbing work on this project went smoothly and stayed on schedule. “It was a good job with people working together and a good crew that helped each other out. One of the better jobs we’ve had,” said Bill Stringfellow, the supervisor on-site for Associated Mechanical Contractors, Inc.
Hamrick echoed those sentiments. “It’s been a great team to work with, Brasfield & Gorrie (general contractor) have done a great job. The administration and oversight have been terrific. It’s been a fun one; I almost hate to see it come to an end.”
Interestingly, this is really just the beginning for Hamrick. His son will be one of the first students studying there this fall.