Inside Drury University’s New Academic Hub

The vibrant center for students and community members is Drury’s first new building in more than two decades.

new building
Courtesy Cooper Robertson

C.H. “Chub” O’Reilly Enterprise Center, a new academic hub on the growing campus of Drury University in Springfield, MO, is now complete.

Designed by architecture and urban design firm Cooper Robertson in collaboration with Trivers, the $27 million, 67,348 sq. ft. building includes new academic and related space for Drury’s business, international affairs, political science, mathematics, and computer science programs.

Conceived as a campus hub, it also delivers high-tech student collaboration areas, facilities for guidance services, an executive conference center, and social spaces with foodservice offerings for both students and the surrounding community.

Notably, the Enterprise Center is Drury’s first new building in more than two decades. It is also the first capital project resulting from the university’s successful 2018 master plan, created by Cooper Robertson. The new academic center plays an important role in accommodating growth at the rapidly expanding institution, which welcomed its largest-ever incoming class this fall.

“The C.H. ‘Chub’ O’Reilly Enterprise Center is a crucial step forward in realizing the vision outlined in our master plan,” says Drury president Dr. J. Timothy Cloyd.

interior of academic building
Courtesy Cooper Robertson

“With its vibrant mix of uses and prominent campus location, this facility embodies Drury’s emphasis on entrepreneurship, innovation, and interdisciplinary learning, and reflects the master plan’s commitment to strategic moves that address the needs of students in a rapidly changing world. It’s a transformational project for Drury.”

Designing For Context And Community Connection

Located at a highly visible intersection where the campus meets larger Springfield, the three-story Enterprise Center replaces a surface parking lot and helps to more tightly weave Drury University into the fabric of its surrounding neighborhood—a move identified as a priority by students, faculty, and Springfield residents alike during the planning process, and an increasingly important trend on campuses nationwide.

With its masonry façade and traditional architectural language, the exterior of the building is contextual in its setting, forming a strong visual connection between Drury’s campus and adjacent city landmarks holding important roles in the community, including a Carnegie library, Springfield City Hall, the historic Stone Chapel, and historic AME and Baptist churches.

office space
Courtesy Cooper Robertson

State-of-the-Art Education And Programming

The Enterprise Center’s mixed-use program also focuses on serving both students and the greater Springfield community with critical 21st-century learning and engagement opportunities. Key elements include nearly a dozen collaborative, interdisciplinary, and high-tech educational spaces such as design, data analytics, and cybersecurity labs, along with a trading floor.

The facility also incorporates an 11,000 sq. ft. Center for Executive Education attached to the main building by arcaded loggias. This 477-seat conference center and flexible event space dramatically expands the university’s ability to offer its longstanding workshops for local small businesses, as well as its capacity to host talks and other live performances. According to Drury leadership, it will be used extensively by the entire student body, as well as by community groups and other local organizations.

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