Creative collisions: Behind the bricks and mortar of campus construction

There is more construction happening on campus than most realize, and it’s based on an educational
“Our team is responsible for delivering all capital projects at the university. It’s a cradle-to-grave
concept,” said Brian Swope, director of the Bowling Green State University Office of Design and
“Whether it’s a small renovation clear to project completion, we take on projects as big as (the Robert
W. and Patricia A. Maurer Center) to small room renovations.”
Swope said that there is overlap with Campus Operations, but once the project gets beyond a certain
hard-to-define size, then it’s a construction project.
The three-story Maurer Center, the future home of the BGSU College of Business, is the last big project
of the BGSU Master Plan 1.0 that began a decade ago. The beginning research has already started for
Master Plan 2.0.
Construction will be continuing between those plans.
The big structural work is done on the Maurer Center, with students starting classes there in August
2020. In June, the large plate glass windows started going in and many interior walls are framed in, as
the inside work is starting.
The final piece of the Maurer Center puzzle, and Master Plan 1.0, will be the Lot A Parking Lot, which is
currently closed and being used for construction materials and machinery. Swope said it will be
“You can’t have that same hideous parking lot with this new building. It has to be updated and
refreshed,” Swope said. “We want it all clean and fresh the day we open it to the public.”
The Maurer Center will have a lot of faculty offices and seven classrooms.
The rooms will be re-configurable. Some walls will double as white boards and some will move. Desks and
workstations will be on wheels. Some of those walls are glass overhead doors that roll up and open to
the atrium.
The large central area is designed with “creative collisions, between faculty and students, peer to peer
and peer to students” in mind.
That huge atrium will be a combination of glass walls combined with some of the original brick walls of
Hanna Hall, some of which have been modified to turn parts of the old roof into an overlook and walkway.
At one end will be a cafe, and there will be a lot of “soft seating” throughout the building.
The Maurer Center will also continue to be connected to University Hall.
Swope describes the creative collisions as a new twist on that ancient foundation of the university
concept — “chance encounters where you can start talking about ideas, foment conversations.” 
He credited the formal return of the concept to Steve Krakoff, the former vice president for Capital
Planning and Campus Operations who died from cancer in 2017.
“He tried to foster collaborative space. We try to get professors out of their offices, among the
students and around the building, so we can foster those encounters,” Swope said.
A new arrival on campus is the BGSU letters in the center.
Swope called that “creating Kodak moments” — which he said may be a concept only understandable by the
parents who are dropping of their students in the fall.
Complementing the letters is the new “Black Swamp” brick mural project. The artwork is constructed of
different colors of solid bricks forming the apex of several sidewalks that converge outside the student
union and in front of the BGSU letters.
Not all the on-going projects are as visible as the Maurer Center or the Black Swamp art.
There are currently 55 projects in process on campus.
“It’s always dynamic. There’s always something happening,” Swope said.
Some of the bigger projects include:
• Conklin Hall HVAC
• Moore Musical Arts Center, refurbishing 10 classrooms
• Planning stage for College of Technology projects
• McFall Center window replacement
• Founders Hall tunnel top
• Centralized steam and chilled water manufacturing plant upgrades
Swope described the steam and chilled water plants as the physical heart of the campus. The university
supplies heat through hot water steam system, with a somewhat similar concept with cool water.
“(This) takes advantage of economies of scale, which lowers operating costs, making the campus more
sustainable,” he said.
The big tunnel reconstruction project that bisected campus is usually, “out-of-sight so out-of-mind.”
However, if the Founders Hall tunnel top collapsed the university wouldn’t have had heat, Swope said.

“This campus is dynamic. Buildings get older every day,” Swope said.