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Dec
12

Human Centered Design... Change Agents for People

HamiltonIntnerior250The College of Social Work is currently spread out across seven buildings, but it will soon have one permanent home.  The historic Hamilton College is currently undergoing a major renovation, projected for completion by fall 2015.  The College of Social Work will take the wing facing Pendleton Street Garage.

Hamilton College was built in 1942 as a training space for the U.S. Navy and housed classrooms and the Armory.  Around the same time, a graduate program in social work was struggling to get off the ground and was eventually forced to fold due to the effects of World War II on enrollment.  Now the story of social work at USC has come full circle as the war effort that once seemed to spell the end of the program is providing its new home.


HamiltonGym250The College of Social Work will move into the former Naval ROTC Armory gymnasium, which will be completely overhauled to include a second level.  A new lobby will be constructed with an entrance facing the Osborne Administration Building.  With a sleek, modern look that predominantly features glass, the lobby will be a bright gathering place for students, faculty, and staff.

The space will include a computer lab, five classrooms, four conference rooms, and offices for faculty, staff, and graduate assistants.  One highlight of the plan is the student lounge, which will allow graduate and undergraduate social work students to study and socialize together.  Director of Development Caryn Little also hopes that alumni feel welcome in the space, citing the importance of mentoring for a thriving program.  Little notes that having the College in one central location will provide the “opportunity for our faculty and staff to be in one place and really create that synergistic environment.”  That kind of sharing and rapport is essential to social work, a field that is “really about teamwork,” says Little.  Dean Anna Scheyett also notes that having offices and classrooms under one roof “will allow faculty to have those spontaneous ‘water cooler’ conversations that often result in new ideas and collaborations.”

Though the new College of Social Work will bear no resemblance to a gym, a number of architectural elements are incorporated into the renovation plans.  The arch of the gym ceiling will be kept in some offices, and most of the original wood floor will be preserved and refinished for the new lobby.

Progress on the Hamilton College renovation can be followed on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.  To inquire about naming opportunities or to contribute to the College’s future growth, please contact Caryn Little or visit the Giving website.  An official groundbreaking ceremony is planned for next spring.

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