March 27, 2023

Lewis & Clark Unveils Revitalized Student Center

This spring, Lewis & Clark unveiled the newly renovated Stephanie Fowler Student Center (formerly known as Templeton). Designed to be the “heart of campus,” the updated student center features enhanced meeting and activity spaces, outdoor gathering spots, and improved accessibility features.

The Fowler Student Center--aka the heart of campus--has opened its doors after a year of renovations. The Fowler Student Center—aka the "heart of campus"—has opened its doors after a year of renovations.
Credit: Devan Freeman

After a year of renovations, the Stephanie Fowler Student Center (formerly known as Templeton) fully opened at the beginning of spring semester. Use of the center is in full swing, even as the college completes finishing touches and students begin to make it their own. The bright, inviting student center features enhanced meeting and activity spaces, outdoor gathering spots, and improved accessibility features.

“We’re thrilled to unveil the revitalized student center,” says President Robin Holmes-Sullivan, who helped launch the project when she was vice president of student life and dean of students. “In the past, it’s been hard for our students to identify the heart of campus. This renovation has been a great opportunity to work on both better utilizing large space and organizing it in a way that we know is going to enhance a sense of belonging.”

The project’s planning phase was informed by a student advisory committee and included many hours of interviews with community stakeholders. Project partners included ZGF Architecture and Bremik Construction.

“Transforming Templeton into Fowler has revived our student center to be a true student union,” says Madeleine MacWilliamson BA ’24, president of the Associated Student Body. “I foresee that the Fowler Student Center will become a lively hub for residential and commuter undergraduates.”

The newly renovated building is the signature project of Lewis & Clark’s current $155 million fundraising campaign. It is named in honor of our current board chair, Stephanie Fowler MA ’97, whose husband, Irving Levin, generously donated the lead gift for the renovation.

Incoming Board Chair Paula Hayes BS ’92 called the newly renovated student center “a wonderful new resource for students” and a “fitting tribute” to Fowler.

“During her many years of service to the board and the college, Stephanie has been laser-focused on the needs of our students,” Hayes said. “Are they receiving the best possible education? Are they prepared for success in their careers? Do they have a place where they can hang out and build a community of friends? By providing a more welcoming place for students to gather in the heart of campus, the renovated student center helps us advance the latter of those three goals.”

Fun Facts About Fowler Student Center

  • Most of the building’s LED lights also serve as acoustic absorption to eliminate echo and ambient noise.
  • Some of the center’s interior wood detailing was constructed from salvaged oak trees, which fell in front of the Frank Manor House during the 2021 Valentine’s Day storm. In addition, wood for the exterior benches was salvaged lumber from the old foot bridge that crossed the campus ravine.
  • The new addition on level 3 (front of building area) is heated and cooled with a super high-efficient ventilation system that uses no fossil fuels.
  • The concrete curbed planting areas collect and manage stormwater runoff. They’re sized to be capable of handling a once-a-century rain event.

The building dedication is planned for May 4 (more details to come).

Main Floor Highlights (Level 2)

“Main Street” Student Spaces

In the newly active and visible main floor, student organizations have taken over what was previously used mostly as staff spaces. This brighter and more open “main street” now offers flexible meeting spaces for student clubs and organizations.

Student Engagement Help Desk

Staffed by members of the Office of Student Engagement, the Help Desk is designed to assist students in matching their interests to an existing student organization or help them initiate a new group. The overarching objective is to aid students in getting involved on campus.

The Trail Room

This casual food venue has been transformed into a student hub that serves as a café or lounge space by day and a venue suited for everything from poetry readings to concerts by night.

The Beth Miller Lounge

This area, named for Life Trustee Beth Miller BS ’73, is located adjacent to Council Chamber. It will be used for receptions and events.

Patrick and Dorris Nielson Courtyard

This area has become a central pathway through the building and serves as a hub for outdoor gatherings. It features a fire pit, seating, and a Japanese-inspired plant garden. A glass canopy offers protection from the elements.

Student Game Room

The former mail room is in the process of becoming a student game room, complete with board games, an arcade, and other interactive games. Ultimately, students will decide how best to use this space.

Upstairs Highlights (Level 3)

Fields Dining Hall, also known as “The Bon”

L&C’s main student dining hall has gained more space. It now features covered outdoor eating areas, so students can enjoy both sunny and rainy days.

The Hu Media Lounge

Located near Fields Dining Hall, and named for Trustee Heidi Hu BS ’85, this room will serve as a de facto living room for the student center. The casual space will serve as a resource for students’ regular technology needs, such as printing, computing, and team projects, as well as a gathering space for social gaming, e-sports, and other tech-based activities.

Templeton Plaza

The student center features an inviting front entry, clarifying its place as the heart of campus. The entrance to Fields faces Templeton Way, which is now primarily a pedestrian footpath that links to the nearby residence community.

New Exterior Elevator

An important element of the renovation is a new fully ADA-compliant exterior elevator, located on the south side of the building near the parking lot. The elevator serves all levels of the building.

Student Engagement Facilities Giving