William Peace University | Focus Plan

Raleigh, NC

William Peace University, a women’s liberal arts institution in the Presbyterian tradition had a 140 year history as a two year college prior to becoming a full baccalaureate institution 10 years ago. The university is situated in the city of Raleigh about 6 blocks from the historic state capitol on an absolutely stunning campus. The Main building for the university was built in 1859 and served as a hospital during the Civil War for the confederate army. After the Civil War the university resumed operations in 1872 and has continued to serve young women since.

The goal of the Focus Plan was to bring attention to facilities that William Peace University needs to help it along on the path to success as a four year institution. Commencement of the Bachelor of Science degree, commencement of a teacher education program, and the commencement of a political science and pre-law majors were all growth strategies. The focus plan looked at those needs and the amenities required for student life and the conversion of the existing library to a Learning Commons.

All of the architecture at the university is in the Southern Colonial tradition and CFB recommended the development of a synergistic Campus Center by merging the Hermann athletic building with the Belk dining and student services building across an exterior plaza. This enlarged Campus Commons will contain a new health & fitness center, a snack bar/cafe, a renovated swimming pool, large lounges and meeting rooms. Across the plaza will be the addition to Belk which will contain a bell tower, a new lobby and enlarged food court, additional meeting rooms, student services offices and bookstore. These two buildings will operate together as a campus commons for the William Peace University community.

The Finch Library in the front of the campus on Peace Street is small and reminiscent of the two year institution. The Focus Plan envisions enlarging the library, reorienting its entrance to the center of the campus and constructing a Learning Commons on the first floor and a curriculum library and additional stack and group study spaces on the second floor.

The third project will be the establishment of wet labs outside of Pressly Hall. A new wet lab tower will be constructed while interior renovation to support the wet labs with science offices and student zones, small research laboratories and other projects to put “science on display” will establish Willliam Peace as a leader in women’s science education.

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