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George and Marty Spann Student Commons Thomas College

Waterville, Maine


Jay Connor


Design and development of new 22,000-sf Academic Student Center including the dining room/servery, meeting/function hall, student life commons, retail café, campus bookstore and exterior and infrastructure improvements.

Dining Hall

The goal for Thomas was to turn the outdated dining facility into an exciting market-style dining experience.  Using a series of flexible cooking stations, this on-demand approach to food preparation brings cooking out of the “back of house”.  Now a visual experience emphasizing choice with seating clusters of variety in scale and privacy, a new refreshing alternative to traditional dining hall aesthetic comes alive – a dynamic, relaxed dining experience.  The new meeting/room function hall provides a new dedicated gathering space, as well as overflow seating for the dining room.    Accommodating mid-sized functions, the space also eliminates the cross programming of student spaces in the campus center.


The exterior skin improvements of the student center were reinvented by capitalizing on the building’s existing infrastructure and value.  Through upgraded building systems, roofs and fasciae, we transformed its planning shortcomings, structural deficiencies, and mechanical failures into inspiring design strengths.



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