Can Different Types of Educational Institutions Share Space?

On the North Idaho College campus in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, our firm, Integrus Architecture, along with H2A Architects, is currently designing the North Idaho Collaborative Education (NICE) Facility, a higher education building that houses flexible classroom space and much-needed student services functions. That’s a pretty average day at the office, except for the fact that the NICE facility is a cross-institutional partnership between two 4-year universities (University of Idaho and Lewis-Clark State College) and one 2-year institution (North Idaho College)  All three will inhabit the space in some capacity, uniquely, without any designated faculty offices.

Having three independent institutions share the same building may seem strange, but “Inter-Institutional Cooperation,” is becoming a common mechanism for colleges and universities to widen the ripples of their geographic reach while still fulfilling their unique institutional missions. In creating a facility where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, each partner achieves what cannot be achieved alone: increased access to education, enhanced institutional missions, achieved cost savings, expanded programs and services, a focus on academic outcomes for students.1

A Model for the Future – Butler University and Christian Theological Seminary

Shared campuses, repurposing individual buildings for shared use, and forming co-located campuses or buildings are becoming fashionable.  Is this a trend and/or a model that will stick?  Will it degrade each institution’s individuality? Or is it, indeed, a positive solution to reach a greater number of students who would otherwise not find a college education affordable or accessible?

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