WORCESTER, MA – Shawmut recently celebrated the topping off of Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s (WPI) new Foisie Innovation Studio and Messenger Residence Hall. The 78,000-square-foot, $49 million ground-up project is expected to open in fall 2018 and includes high-tech classrooms, a robotics and global impacts laboratory, a cafe, and a three-floor, 140 student residence hall.

Shawmut’s work on the five-story, mixed-use facility will create a hub for WPI’s project-based curriculum, giving students the ability to design and create prototypes using rapid prototyping equipment. The team will create a variety of academic spaces ranging from makerspaces and high-tech classrooms to an innovation and entrepreneurship center. Informal collaboration areas with display technology, mobile tables, and seating will be installed throughout the facility to encourage interaction among students.

Mirroring WPI’s project-based approach to education, Shawmut utilized its Virtual Studio to provide Oculus Rift and Microsoft HoloLens to display high-definition renderings. The Virtual Studio team hosted a VR demo and tour to WPI students and faculty to “walk” through the project in real time.

“We’re excited to be contributing to WPI’s future,” said Ron Simoneau, vice president at Shawmut. “Our team is working diligently to ensure future generations of students have the premiere space to immerse themselves in their education.”

Shawmut’s work on WPI’s Foisie Innovation Studio and Messenger Residence Hall represents the latest in the firm’s extensive academic work in Massachusetts, with current projects at Harvard University, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and Williams College.