EUGENE, Ore., June 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The University of Oregon today celebrated the unveiling of the four-story, $33.6 million Cheryl Ramberg Ford and Allyn Ford Alumni Center. Funded by private gifts and state bonds, the center will provide office space, welcome visitors to campus, and tell the stories of the university and its alumni. All other Pac-12 universities have similar facilities, but the UO's is innovative in many ways.
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"This facility breaks the mold," said University of Oregon President Richard W. Lariviere. "Ducks are innovators, and the Ford Alumni Center reflects this creativity and leadership."
"At other institutions, I've seen what an alumni center can accomplish," said Lariviere. "The Ford Alumni Center will welcome all visitors to campus. It will also help us recruit new students and improve the effectiveness of those working to advance the university."
The center's modern, sustainable design complements the neighboring Matthew Knight Arena and completes the new east campus gateway. It houses the University of Oregon Foundation and the university's alumni association, student orientation services and development department.
The 60,000-square-foot facility features the Tykeson Family Hall Interpretive Center, the Randy and Susie Pape Hearth Foyer, and the 3,600-square-foot Lee Barlow Giustina Ballroom, which opens into the Donald R. Barker Courtyard. Upper floors include the Suzanne Schoenfeldt Fields Library, public areas, meeting rooms and offices.
"Many friends have invested in this long-anticipated project," said lead donor Cheryl Ramberg Ford '66. She and her husband Allyn, led the fundraising effort for the center, giving a total of $7 million. The building is named in their honor.
"We're delighted to be a part of opening the University of Oregon's new front door to alumni, prospective students, the community and the state," she said. "The design is phenomenal, the building is green in more ways than one and the interpretive center is leading-edge. It is a proud day for Oregon alumni."
Unlike most alumni centers, the UO's facility is designed to welcome everyone. It features accessible parking, a staffed information desk and the Suzanne Schoenfeldt Fields Library. The university expects to host more than 17,000 visitors at approximately 600 recruitment and information sessions in the coming year.
"This is the first place prospective students will visit when they come to campus, and the first place they will return after they graduate," said Roger Thompson, vice provost for enrollment management. "It will be our home base to begin campus tours, conduct orientation sessions, and show everything the university has to offer."
Using large touch-screens, visitors can explore a 2,000-square-foot interpretive center designed by Second Story Interactive Studios, a Portland, Ore., firm described by the New York Times as "the Ken Burns of interactive media." The multimedia installation celebrates Oregon heritage, informs visitors about the university and builds connections with future alumni.
Six fourteen-foot-high panels with touch-sensitive displays will inform and inspire visitors with more than 1,000 stories told through words, images and video. These stories will be constantly updated, and the entire system is integrated with a dynamic three-dimensional mapping feature that can also be changed as the university grows and evolves.
At the interactive alumni table, visitors can search the database of 210,000 alumni by name, school, class or activity. Messages can be shared on the system through the alumni association's website. At the Oregon entry wall, visitors can see what's happening on campus.
The university anticipates receiving gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED system for environmentally friendly construction. Built with sustainable materials, the building is designed for energy efficiency and low environmental impact.
Portland's Opsis Architecture was the executive architect and interior architect. James Meyer, a 1981 UO graduate, is a principal with Opsis. TVA Architects was the building architect, and 1977 UO graduate Robert Thompson is a principal for TVA Architects.
SOURCE The University of Oregon