To further enrich the experience of its campus community, the University of Evansville sought a new social heart. The selected site transformed a pathway through service areas linking housing and athletic areas to its picturesque academic core into a welcoming and inviting environment extending the campus's strong sense of place. In realizing this vision, Mackey Mitchell Architects collaborated with Hafer Associates to design the new $23.9 million, 92,000SF Ridgway University Center. Infused with dining, retail, gathering, lounge, event space, and activity spaces, the new living room of campus teems with activity throughout the day and night.
Not only does the Ridgway Center extend the campus's exemplary Collegiate Gothic architecture but recalls elements of Harlaxton Manor, an English castle serving as home to UE's study abroad program. Serving as the central see-and-be-seen space, functions are organized along an iconic "Great Hall". With its vaulted, truss ceiling and mezzanine lounge providing an elegant first impression, the Great Hall is expressed on the exterior as a gabled red-tiled roof reflective of Olmsted Hall, the campus's main anchor building. While Ridgway was shaped to screen service areas from view, surrounding surface parking was replaced with an oval shaped lawn space upon which the Ridgway Center fronts.
Whether you seek social interaction or a place to be alone together, the Ridgway Center has become a vibrant and loved social heart - a true campus living room shared by students and the broader campus community. While the physical transformation of this area of campus has certainly been stunning, the value of the Ridgway Center is best told by students who dwell within its spaces. Says student Mallet Reed "The University Center is my compass...it’s where I've made lifelong friends, with UE representing a symbol of togetherness." The Ridgway Center was recognized with an ACUI Facility Design Award of Excellence.
Passion + Perspective
Its magnificent design and functional student-friendly layout has made it the campus 'living room.'
- Dr. Stephen G. Jennings
President, University of Evansville