New Construction

Aurora University Completes Residence Hall for Neurodiverse Students

Aurora University in Aurora, Ill., recently completed construction on a new campus residence hall geared toward students on the autism spectrum, according to a news release. The five-story Don and Betty Tucker Hall includes space for 70 resident rooms and will also play home to the university’s Pathways program, which serves young adults on the spectrum. The university partnered with Cordogan, Clark & Associates for the building’s design and The Boldt Company for its construction.

The news release reports that the 35,109-square-foot residence hall is one of the first of its kind in the U.S. to be built from the ground up. According to retired university president Dr. Rebecca L. Sherrick, about 40 percent of young people on the autism spectrum are capable of attending college. “We also know that they have huge contributions to make in the workplace and society,” she said. “Those students need a safe and secure home environment on campus to fulfill their potential.”

Design elements specific to sensory-sensitive students include calm and muted color palettes; seamless drywall to minimize lines and distractions; adjustable light systems in all spaces; acoustic materials within walls to reduce sound; vinyl flooring to muffle footsteps; common areas with adjustable seating and quiet study areas; and a fitness center and study rooms on each floor.

The ground floor will also play home to the Betty Parke Tucker Center for Neurodiversity.

“I can see where this is a huge deal,” said Boldt Project Manager Ali Burke. “It’s really important for everybody to have an opportunity like this to learn and to have an environment for them to excel in.”

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].