The Cassandra Voss Center
“Skylights Add a Contemporary Look to a Historic College Campus Building in WI”
Nestled on the banks of the Fox River in De Pere, Wisconsin sits a small liberal arts college dedicated to changing the world by graduating educated, passionate and empowered students. St. Norbert College is a beautiful ninety-three acre college comprised of thirty-seven buildings. Among them, the former St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church built in 1883. Today, it is in its final stages of being transformed into the Cassandra Voss Center; a tribute to the spirited legacy of Cassandra Voss who passed away in a tragic car accident in 2007 at age 21.
The center will house the college’s Women and Gender Studies academic discipline, the Joan P. Schaupp Women’s Center, the Men’s Initiative, and play host to a number of other student programs and activities. Cassie would have been the first student to graduate from St. Norbert with a degree in Women’s and Gender Studies. She was also pursuing a major in English and a minor in Art. Cassie often talked about creating a space on campus for all gender-related programming.
One of the goals in the renovation was to preserve the building’s historic nature while offering a modern look and conveniences. Green Bay based Howard Immel Inc. served as the project’s general contractor. The renovated building includes classrooms, offices, a lounge, a full kitchen, and a “reflection room – for Hope” in the former church’s bell tower.
The bell tower offered a unique opportunity to create a reflection room that would be quieter that the spaces around it. To enhance this space, the church’s old belfry was capped with an amazing skylight to let in natural daylight. Wasco Skylights, Wells, ME, designed the skylight framing system. The skylight is glazed with 16mm LEXAN™ THERMOCLEAR™ multiwall polycarbonate filled with Lumira® aerogel. This material was the ideal choice for this tranquil space and provides glare-free, diffused light and also helps to reduce sound.
Restoring the St. John’s building to reflect its spiritual roots and increasing the natural daylighting was important in the architectural design. In combining the old with the new, Wasco Skylights designed a contemporary “atrium-like” skylight that gives the stairway to the second level a “feeling of space and light”. Combining 25mm LEXAN™ THERMOCLEAR™ multiwall polycarbonate Lumira® aerogel-filled panels with unfilled panels helps to eliminate interior hot spots while still allowing for incredible views of downtown De Pere. In addition, a “cross” built into the design of the framing system provides a beautiful spiritual component to the exterior look of the building.
Both the bell tower skylight and the front entrance skylight were installed by the highly admired H.J. Martin & Son, Inc. of Green Bay, WI. Given the age of the building and the complexities of this project, the team from H.J. Martin & Son did a fantastic job assembling the framework and found the lightweight, impact resistant, UV protected polycarbonate panels easy to handle and install.
The combination of multiwall polycarbonate panels and environmentally friendly Lumira® aerogel is a unique balance of cost, thermal performance, acoustic performance, visual comfort, and aesthetics. To learn more, please CLICK HERE to visit our website.
The Cassandra Voss Center will open to students and the community in September. A dedication ceremony and benefit concert will be held Wednesday, September 18th. For more information, please CLICK HERE.
Want to see the renovation process from beginning to end? CLICK HERE to view photos documenting this renovation project.
LEXAN THERMOCLEAR is a trademark of SABIC.