New Admission and Student Financial Services Building Opens

November 28, 2018

A new Admission and Student Financial Services (ASFS) building designed to meet the needs of prospective and current students and their families is open at the southwest corner of Park Street and Eighth Avenue.

The $12 million two-story facility near the heart of campus provides a technology-rich presentation room where visitors are invited to learn more about Grinnell College. Visitors may, for example, discover how Grinnell provides individually advised learning in the liberal arts and mentored research opportunities, brings together and celebrates diverse perspectives, and prepares students to navigate the world’s complexities and responsibly contribute to the common good.

The ASFS also includes private spaces for conversations about admission and financial aid, as well as a welcoming waiting room with a large stone fireplace and wood-paneled cathedral ceiling.

“When departing for a campus tour, visiting families will have ready access to interactions with current students and faculty, classroom visits, meals in the Dining Hall, and – once opened – the new Humanities and Social Studies Center,” says Joe Bagnoli, vice president for enrollment and dean of admission and financial aid.

The Humanities and Social Studies Center (HSSC), which is under construction across Park Street from the ASFS, will bring non-fine arts humanities and social studies departments together in one structure to create innovative learning spaces that encourage multidisciplinary collaboration. The newly constructed portion of the HSSC will open in January 2019.

In addition, the HSSC encompasses the renovation and expansion of two historic buildings – Alumni Recitation Hall and Carnegie Hall. This work will begin soon. McGough Construction of St. Paul, Minnesota, which was construction manager for the ASFS, serves as construction manager for the HSSC and the first phase of the college’s master landscaping plan.

Several trees were cut down to make way for the HSSC. Some of the wood from these trees has been incorporated into the ASFS, which was designed by Ayers Saint Gross of Baltimore. Campus Sustainability Coordinator Chris Bair, a 1996 Grinnell graduate, came up with the idea to reclaim the wood by using it for furniture and other elements of the ASFS and HSSC.

California-based furniture maker Tor Erickson 01, designed the 14-foot-long reception desk in the ASFS lobby. He built it out of reclaimed black walnut with the help of Isabella Kugel 20 who interned at Erickson Woodworking last summer.

Erickson also designed and carved four laurel leaves out of reclaimed maple to represent the Grinnell College logo on the wall behind the reception desk. The plinth or platform at the base of the open monumental staircase in the lobby is made from reclaimed walnut.

Other green elements of the ASFS include:

  • A geothermal heating and cooling system shared with the HSSC;
  • LED lighting throughout the facility;
  • Bioswales to help control storm water runoff;
  • A covered walkway from the parking lot to the front entrance that will gain a green roof next spring; and
  • A solar power array that will be installed on the south-facing pitched roof next spring.

Grinnell’s admission and financial aid offices previously occupied the John Chrystal Center at 1103 Park St. The space available in the Chrystal Center will next house the college’s Center for Careers, Life and Service, which has been divided among four campus buildings. The Registrar’s Office remains in the Chrystal Center.