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West Chester University - The Sciences and Engineering Center & The Commons

Architecture, interior design, and engineering services to create a campus destination that feeds student needs

  • 3


  • 175K

    Square Feet

  • 451

    Space Parking Facility

  • West Chester, Pennsylvania

    West Chester, Pennsylvania

Supporting WCU’s academic mission of designing an inter-collaborative learning laboratory

West Chester University (WCU) wanted to update a part of their campus that was previously defined by parking lots, under-utilized buildings, and a decommissioned coal-burning boiler plant. While originally planning a dining hall for this space, WCU soon saw the potential to shape student life, promote academic collaboration, and reclaim the landscape with a new multidisciplinary building. They needed an architectural partner they could trust—that’s where our team came in.

The Sciences & Engineering Center and The Commons (SECC) is a story of collaboration between architects, engineers, designers, the university, faculty, and most importantly, the students. In addition to specialized and general classrooms and labs, we designed the SECC to house a replacement board dining facility with visible front-cooking and multiple large and small collaboration spaces including a learning stair with a large format multi-media experience. A green roof helps with overall stormwater management, while removal of a decommissioned boiler plant gives way to a vibrant landscape with pedestrian pathways.

Today, SECC provides a living-learning environment for the next generation of scientists, physicians, nutritionists, and other critical-demand positions. It brings the once disparate nursing, health science, and physics programs together under one roof while adding a new biomedical engineering program. From academics to dining, this building creates a space for synergy, socializing, and sharing ideas for new discoveries.

At a Glance

Learning by Design, A&ID Awards of Excellence, Outstanding Project Award, 2023
Meet Our Team

Jennifer Grafton, Principal

I’m a problem solver—I love working collaboratively to find solutions to complex problems.

Tom Foley, Associate

The most effective designs come from a willingness to listen to and engage each team member—and thoughtfully apply each person’s expertise.


Brian Lim, Associate, Plumbing & Fire Protection Designer

While education and experience make a great engineer, I believe humility, structure, communication, and teamwork make a great leader.
Brian Lim Associate, Plumbing & Fire Protection Designer Read More

Esra Abumounshar, Architectural Designer, Generative & Computational Design Lead

We have a responsibility to better our communities with design by fostering diversity, equality, and inclusion throughout the process.
Esra Abumounshar Architectural Designer, Generative & Computational Design Lead Read More

Jennifer Grafton


Tom Foley



Brian Lim

Associate, Plumbing & Fire Protection Designer

Esra Abumounshar

Architectural Designer, Generative & Computational Design Lead

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