The PAC renovations—which began in May 2022 and will be completed by January 2024—will expand the building by nearly 20%, with a 75% increase in classroom space.
The Public Affairs Center (PAC), constructed in 1927, was originally designed as a residence hall The original 1927 PAC building is approximately 48,000 square feet. In 1954, an 8,000 square foot addition was constructed to the east of the original 1927 building to accommodate classrooms and offices. Today, PAC is home to Government, Economics, History, Sociology, and the College of Social Studies, and is one of the most utilized academic buildings on campus.
A building condition assessment, program and schematic design for PAC concluded that the original 1927 PAC building had good bones and was well suited for modernization. However, the deficiencies in the 1954 addition were insurmountable. The current design will modernize the learning environment, remove physical barriers to accessibility, address deferred maintenance, and will incorporate Wesleyan’s campus planning principles to be constructed with sustainable design features.
The 8,000 square foot 1954 addition on the east side will be removed along with the corresponding network of exterior stairs and will be replaced with a 20,500 square foot addition. This addition will house classrooms, the College of Social Studies and a forum space that provides a network of formal and informal learning space and a transparent connection to the existing building. The forum is designed to bring natural light into the building and will connect to a series of outdoor spaces. The 4,500 square foot link to the west of PAC will be replaced with a 5,400 square foot new art gallery connected to Olin Memorial Library, which will be a site for the exhibition and study of objects from the University’s collection. It will provide universally accessible entrances, as well as a 21st-century entry to both PAC and Olin, offering students and other campus community members a sheltered shortcut across campus. Manicured outdoor plazas nestled on either side of the gallery will also serve as new gathering spots.
With a goal of LEED Gold Certification, Key Sustainability Strategies include high insulation, operable windows, green roofs, and healthy interior environments.
High-Performance Building Systems will include radiant ceilings and floors, displacement ventilation, and sensor-controlled LED lighting as well as photovoltaics.