Designing the Future for Historically Black Colleges and Universities

by | Feb 25, 2021 | Higher Education, Uncategorized

PICTURED: Clark Atlanta University’s Thayer Hall

Designing the Future for Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have played an important role in our nation’s history. They opened the door of educational opportunity for Black Americans once legally denied an education and provided nurturing environments to explore their identities and cultures.

Sizemore Group is honored to help these institutions design for their vibrant futures. We are proud of our strong partnerships with some of the country’s leading HBCUs. 

The first HBCU that Sizemore Group worked with was Morehouse College in the 1990s, and we have continued working with them throughout the years on space studies and multiple renovations. Last year, we completed a strategic master plan with Morehouse that included recommendations for placemaking on campus and within its surroundings.

Pictured: A placemaking plan for Morehouse College

Sizemore Group was fortunate to work with Spelman College to create the sector plan and bridging documents for Spelman Suites, a 303-bed residence hall. This facility employs LEED design principles as urban infill, energy recovery units and a proposed green roof. The Suites at Spelman College are the first residence hall at an HBCU to attain LEED certification through the U.S. Green Building Council.

Pictured: Spelman Suites

Located just south of downtown in the heart of what was a historic residential area, Winston-Salem State University faced the challenge of how to take care of its aging facilities, accommodate housing, and minimize serious pedestrian/vehicular conflicts. We enjoyed working with this HBCU on the proposed master plan solution, which focused on consolidating key functions in the heart of campus; created new development sectors beyond the main campus to accommodate housing, academic and research facilities; and created a new entrance and traffic calming strategies along the main artery.

Pictured: The master plan for Winston-Salem State University

Sizemore Group has been fortunate to work with Clark Atlanta University on several projects, including the master plan, the feasibility study and full renovation for Clement Hall. Built in 1968, Clement Hall is a three story building with approximately 24,000 sf located in the south eastern corner of the main historic quadrangle at the heart of Clark Atlanta University Campus. The facility houses classroom and office spaces for the School of Education’s programs and is named after the past president of Atlanta University, Dr. Clement. The addition provides vertical circulation and a new entrance. The facility was one of the first HBCU buildings to attain LEED-CI (Commercial Interior) certification.

Pictured: Clark Atlanta University’s Clement Hall

Sizemore Group worked with Clark Atlanta University on another LEED-CI Silver certified project: Wright Young Hall. We were proud to do the master plan that presented its need, the feasibility study, and complete renovation of the existing facility located on the main historic campus. The facility houses the School of Business with classrooms, labs, offices, a Trading Room, and other instructional support. The renovation included an addition to accommodate vertical circulation and a new entrance off the promenade. The project also restored the west facade that faces the historic quad to its original design.

Pictured: Clark Atlanta University’s Wright Young Hall

Continuing our work with Clark Atlanta University that resulted from the master plan, Sizemore Group completed the comprehensive renovation of Thayer Hall. We renovated the existing facility to accommodate the Whitney M. Young, Jr. School of Social Work with new space for offices, classrooms and demonstration laboratories. Our design featured the tall windows and ceilings, wood panels and beams of what was the original dining hall, concealed during previous renovations. Their beauty is memorialized in today’s classrooms.

Pictured: Clark Atlanta University’s Thayer Hall

Located on a flood plain in the wetlands of coastal Georgia, Savannah State University’s growth was limited by its setting. Sizemore Group created a master plan that charted the path for this HBCU to nearly double its size. The proposed solution moved vehicular circulation to the edges of campus and activated new entrance and exit ways to reduce traffic in the heart of campus. Most new academic buildings and residences were organized around the courtyards, each creating a sense of place. Typical to Sizemore Group’s campus plans, the top priorities proceeded to be implemented within five years.

Pictured: A master plan for Savannah State University