UT School of Nursing – LEAP Center

UT School of Nursing – LEAP Center

The 2019 renovation of the 3rd and 5th floor study spaces at the School of Nursing on the University of Texas at Austin campus, included open study spaces, intimate group reservable rooms, classrooms, offices, a student break room, a computer lab, a CPR Training Room, and Health Assessment rooms. Overall, the total renovation square footage allotted to 11,462 square feet and was completed over the course of the summer break.

Previously, the 3rd floor of the school of Nursing housed open study areas that were separated into graduate and undergraduate student lounges along with quiet study rooms. The School of Nursing wanted to help foster collaboration between undergraduate and graduate students by creating one open study space that was not allocated by grade year. To help this collaboration initiative, Haddon+Cowan Architects conducted a student panel to discuss what the student’s needs were and how the design would help achieve these ideals. Some of the ideas that came out of the panel were having private reservable rooms for the students to use to study and practice for exams, various seating options for group projects and the like, a large and central area to store food and lunches for the students. The solution to these notions consisted of creating reservable rooms with glass walls and a reservation system so students could reserve these spaces from their phones or computers when available. The open floor plan of the study spaces allowed for vast seating options and areas to serve students in the way that suited them. Lastly, a large student break room was created with room for multiple microwaves, refrigerators and counter space so students could easily prepare food throughout the day. Based on the master plan Haddon+Cowan Architects had completed for the School of Nursing a year earlier, it made more sense for these functions to move to the 5th floor to progress the master plan. The final design met the school’s needs of being open and transparent while also providing privacy for students. The study areas and break room all maintain proper adjacencies to each other so that students can efficiently allocate their time and resources.

The existing 5th floor included the LEAP (Learning Enhancement & Academic Progress) center, computer lab, offices, Health Assessment rooms and CPR Training room. The purpose of the LEAP initiative is to combine various academic resources in close proximity to help students achieve success. These resources include the Health Assessment rooms that are set up similar to a working hospital room where students are able to reserve the room and practice their skills and knowledge on mannequins. The CPR Training room also contributes to this initiative by providing skill mannequins to practice CPR on in preparation for exams. Having all of these programs located in close proximity was crucial and the design team found it imperative to relocate these resources to the 3rd floor to achieve adjacency to existing functions on this level that would help support this space. The final design allowed for an open study space with the various supporting functions, Health Assessment rooms, CPR Training room, computer lab and offices to be immediately connected to this central study hub. Down the hall from the LEAP center are two new classrooms, as well, that help serve as the precedent for future classroom designs in the building and include updated technology, furniture and finishes to support student success.

Illustration by: haddoncowan


Higher Education