The planning of the Student Union was realized through a collaborative programming and design process that consisted of the client, faculty, staff, design team, students and other key decision makers. Together, the planning team strategically decided upon several success factors for the project, including that it establish architectural unity with the existing campus, that the campus transition from a commuter campus to encourage students to stay between classes, that a sense of place be created, and that services be expanded.
Additionally, the planning team envisioned a Student Union that would serve as a model of both sustainability and functionality. The resulting design of the Student Union far surpasses users’ expectations and is certain to enhance the students’ college experience upon completion. The Student Union will house all nonacademic functions in one location, including student services, food services/ dining, the book store, a convenience store and a cyber café/multipurpose room.
Currently, some of these services are absent altogether and others are located in undersized temporary buildings throughout the campus. By housing them all together, the design will both consolidate existing services as well as expand services offered. Miramar College has historically been known as a commuter campus; the new Student Union will reverse this identity by encouraging students to stay a while. The student union completes the campus experience by providing areas where students can eat, socialize, and access the Internet. Students will identify with their campus and be more engaged in their educational experience.