After more than 40 years in Campbell Hall, UCLA’s Academic Advancement Program (AAP) is finally getting a chance to stretch its legs, thanks to a new learning pavilion that is currently under construction. The new facility is slated to open in spring 2015.

“We’ve grown from serving 3,000 undergraduate students to serving 6,000,” said Charles Alexander, director of AAP and associate vice provost for student diversity in UCLA’s Division of Undergraduate Education in the UCLA College. “We need space to grow programs. There are a lot of funding opportunities out there for programs that support first-generation college students, historically underrepresented groups, women and transfer students, but we haven’t had the space.”

Charles Alexander

The addition, which will replace the large, underutilized patio on the north side of Campbell Hall, will add 2,030 square feet of space. The construction project makes possible the addition of peer-facilitated learning labs; flexible work areas, technology-rich workstations and multimedia areas; and space for meetings and presentations. In addition, two adjacent training rooms that will open up into the new space will be renovated, and an 880-square-foot outdoor patio area will be created to accommodate tutoring, dining and events.

Among the features of the new renovation and expansion are large windows that help tie the indoor and outdoor elements together, said Eric Heggen, senior project manager in Capital Programs who is overseeing the $3 million project. Black-out shades are also being installed. “The glass is on the north side, so it allows for an expansive space, natural light and less solar gain,” said Heggen.”

Other features include a large window on the west end of the training room that is framed in limestone plaster and provides a view of Royce Hall; polished concrete floors throughout the addition and the renovated space; and existing brick and concrete walls from the exterior of Campbell Hall remain exposed in the new training room.

But that’s not all.

“The factor that has shaped the design the most is dealing with noise, so we’ve got a ceiling made of large, deep coffers which will trap the sound and minimize the transfer of noise from one tutoring table to the next, said Heggen.

Situated in north campus, AAP, the nation’s largest university-based student diversity program, evolved from an outreach program to a retention program and then to a successful enrichment program.

“Our primary goal is to develop students and help them move onto the next level, whether that’s graduate school, professional school or work,” said Alexander. This is done through AAP’s myriad programs in academic counseling, mentoring and tutoring, coupled with specialized programs focused on research, teaching, health, art and social justice, which all promote academic achievement. Graduation rates for AAP students is in the 90 percentile, said Alexander, noting that many of these students are the first in their families to earn a university degree.

“Being a public institution like UCLA gives people from low-income, first generation backgrounds who are academically gifted the opportunity to change their status in life. What we’re doing is not only changing lives, but changing communities.”