Public Affairs Center and DAC Gallery

The Public Affairs Center (PAC), constructed in 1927, was originally designed as a residence hall by the prominent firm McKim, Mead and White Architects of New York, NY, on the former site of the observatory. The original 1927 PAC building is approximately 48,000 square feet.  In 1954, an 8,000 square foot addition was constructed to the east of the original 1927 building to accommodate classrooms and offices.  Today, PAC is home to Government, Economics, History, Sociology and the College of Social Studies and is one of the most utilized academic buildings on campus. In the spring of 2017, PAC classroom enrollment was among the highest on campus with 3,570 students enrolled. A survey of students and faculty in 2015 by Sasaki identified PAC as one of the least desirable classroom buildings on campus.

Wesleyan engaged Newman Architects of New Haven, Connecticut (Additions and Renovations to Boger Hall, 2012, and Fisk Renovations, 2016) to complete a building condition assessment, program and schematic design for PAC. The building condition assessment concluded that the original 1927 PAC building had good bones and was well suited for modernization. However, the deficiencies in the 1954 addition, including but not limited to low head room, physical barriers to accessibility, lack of natural light to the interior, and obsolete mechanical systems,  were insurmountable.  The proposed project will modernize the learning environment, remove physical barriers to accessibility, address deferred maintenance, will incorporate the campus planning principles and will be constructed with sustainable design features.   

To accomplish these goals,  it is proposed that the 8,000 square foot 1954 addition on the east side be removed along with the corresponding network of exterior stairs and be replaced with a 20,500 square foot addition.  This addition will house classrooms, the College of Social Studies and a forum space that provides a network of formal and informal learning space and a transparent connection to the existing building. The proposed forum will be designed to bring natural light into the building and will connect to a series of outdoor spaces.  The 4,500 square foot link to the west of PAC constructed will be replaced with a 5,400 square foot new art gallery connected to Olin Memorial Library, where the Davison Art Collection classroom and storage were moved in 2019.

The construction materials and technologies will highlight Wesleyan’s commitment to sustainability. The project will be designed to LEED standards and will feature LED lighting with daylight dimming and occupancy sensor controls.

Construction Photos