Construction continues on the new Lassonde Studios, a residence for student entrepreneurs and innovators.
The building will house 400 students from all disciplines. Along with the four flours exclusive to residents, there will be a 20,000 square foot main floor, known as the “garage,” open to the public.
Collaboration is a key factor for the space and there will be amenities within the building to encourage this mindset. Each floor will have a group dining area, and students have the option of living in a set of pods grouped around a collaborative space. Studio and conference rooms will be available, and each floor will have additional work areas and tools unavailable on the ground floor.
Thad Kelling, marketing and public relations manager, sees Lassonde as a place for students to engage in learning and working on projects that interest them, rather than as “a place you go to just close your eyes.”
The individual floors of the building will all be themed according to residents’ interest. What’s been proposed so far are gaming and digital media, global impact and sustainability, product design and development, and outdoor gear and gadgets. Each will be designed with the flexibility to change over time, as will the garage.
Troy D’Ambrosio, Lassonde Institute executive director, believes that the adaptability of the building mirrors the ever-changing nature of innovation.
“We think of the building as kind of the embodiment of an entrepreneurial mindset,” he said.
Construction on the studios began in October 2014, and is set to be completed by July 2016. Currently, the project is ahead of schedule because more progress than expected was made during the mild 2014-2015 winter.
At this time, most of the foundational work has been finalized and decisions on the interior finishes are being made. The entirety of the structure is cement, which will create an openness within the buildings. Kelling sees this as an important architectural element, because “you can do whatever you want in them,” he said.
The funds for the project came mainly from donors, along with some debt undertaken by the institute. No state funding or student fees have contributed to the cost of construction.
All students are eligible to apply regardless of major or year in school. Grade point average and transcripts are not taken into account in the selection process.
“People have great ideas no matter where they come from,” said D’Ambrosio.
The cost of living will be comparable to other residences on campus, but will be somewhat higher due to the modernity of the building as well as the expansive amount of resources the studios will provide residents. The exact numbers have not been published, but will be made available in coming weeks.
To date, several hundred students have applied to live in the studios. The first round of decisions will be made by the end of 2015, but applications will continue to be accepted into 2016.
The 400 chosen students will move into the studios for the Fall 2016 semester.