The newest dormitory structure at the UNR campus is the Living Learning Community Building. The five story, $3.5 million project for 320 students encourages student participation in “floor communities.” It is one of the few such facilities in the US, and it combines both classrooms and faculty offices in the same building. Students are assigned to the same floor based on core classes they have in common, and faculty offices relevant to this core classes are in close proximity. Because of these innovations, students are able to study and interact more effectively than the typical dorm room, which can be isolating. The building is LEED certified for long term energy savings.
The exterior layout encourages student interaction, with a sunny courtyard sheltered from the wind, grouped benches, and central lawn area. Lumos prepared preliminary sketch plans for several options in the pedestrian courtyard including bike racks, benches, and raised planters. Large street trees along South Virginia Street were planted to bring the massive building scale down to a more pedestrian level feel. The trees will eventually shade the large glass classroom windows on the east side of the building. Plant types were coordinated with UNR staff and maintenance personnel to ensure they are able to properly care for the landscaping. There are minimal lawn areas with an emphasis on rock mulches and low maintenance plants around the building exterior. A dry stream bed was designed on the north side of the building to convey drainage away from the building to North Virginia Street, where a settling basin slows the water down and infiltrates before the excess water enters the storm drain. The building opened to its first class of students the last week of August, and has received very positive comments from both students and UNR staff.