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Rowan College
Mount Laurel, New Jersey

Landscape Architecture by Sikora Wells Appel



The design of the Central Quad at Rowan College in Mount Laurel, N.J., balances a large open lawn space with smaller areas for gathering, dining and studying. The project was designed in concert with the new Student Success Center Building led by USA Architects in collaboration with Moody Nolan. In-ground LEDs up light the conically-tapered aluminum flag poles.

Located in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, 30 miles outside of Philadelphia, Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC), formerly known as Burlington County College (BCC), serves as a leading public institution in southern New Jersey. Traditionally a two-year commuter college, RCBC administrators closed their sister campus in Pemberton N.J., absorbed the Pemberton student population, and set the "campus transformation" in motion, with the vision of offering a four-year college experience. This experience was envisioned not only from the perspective of course work, but also from the feeling the campus evokes. With the growing student population came a new 78,000 square foot "Student Success Center," renovations to existing buildings, and a complete transformation at the core of the campus with the new Central Quad green space.



The 'Spine' walkway is flanked by an allée of elms, mimicking the linear layout of the 14' light poles topped with single head 'Ashberry' LED luminaires.

Sikora Wells Appel's creation of the Central Quad was designed in concert with the new Student Success Center Building, whose design was led by USA Architects in collaboration with Moody Nolan. The new quad design balances an open lawn space designed to hold large events and ceremonies, with smaller areas for gathering, dining and studying. As the central activity hub, the Student Success Center Plaza was created with flexibility in mind and accommodates daily pedestrian circulation and outdoor dining, outdoor classes and other campus events. Anchored by numerous built-in seating options, the Success Center Plaza boasts nearly 400 linear feet of amphitheater type bluestone steps, in addition to large-scale concrete seat wall planters containing ornamental grasses, perennials, shrubs and flowering trees. By contrast, the Grove is a more intimate space, incorporating a variety of shade trees, groundcover planting, stabilized stone dust gravel, mobile device charging stations and moveable tables and chairs. A network of new walking paths serves to connect students, faculty and guests to each building, as well as the adjacent parking lots and other areas of campus.


The new central quad green space is 90% tall fescue and 10% Kentucky bluegrass.The crisscross walkways are poured-in-place concrete with broom swept finish and sawcut scoring.

Higher Quality Materials and Finish
Throughout the schematic and design development project phases, Sikora Wells Appel aimed to elevate the materials used on campus and create a new standard for future improvements, while creating a level of finish consistent with other four-year college institutions. In addition to the site design, the construction detailing and richness in the paving materials, plantings, lighting and site furnishings help the campus to reflect RCBC's new mission. Concrete sidewalks with brick accent bands previously dominated the school. The new quad design incorporates high-end concrete unit pavers and bluestone, with a ground plane color palette to soften the red brick building façades.


A color blend of 1' x 2' 'Umbriano' concrete pavers in a running bond pattern defines the plazas and building entrances, while the curving pathway (top, right) has a herringbone pattern of 8"x16" concrete pavers.

Lighting was a large factor in the site design for both safety and aesthetic reasons. New pedestrian scale, pole top LEDs illuminate the new walkways, creating safe circulation routes for campus goers during evening and weekend classes. The Grove area incorporates pole mounted, moonlight type fixtures, each washing light 360? on the stone fines between the trees. The new quad landscape design also aids in defining spaces and creating a campus environment, rich with a wide variety of plant material and four-season interest. The plant palette includes a deciduous canopy and flowering trees, evergreen trees, deciduous and evergreen shrubs, perennials, annuals and large open areas of manicured, fine lawn.


The 400 linear feet of radial amphitheater steps are 24" x 5' x 3" bluestone treads. The seats and retaining walls are gray colored poured-in-place concrete.

The project goals were not limited to creating connections and comfortable spaces, but to also evoke a sense of community and change the commuter culture by keeping students and faculty on campus. The 2.25-acre open field that had divided the campus made RCBC feel like the commuter college it was. Where previously students would drive from building to building between classes, Sikora Wells Appel and RCBC officials wanted to elevate the student experience and provide amenities that were missing. Driven by the institution's planned transformation from a two-year commuter college to a four-year college, the new quad improvements have completely transformed the feel and functionality of the RCBC campus.


The 'Grove' is a more intimate space, incorporating a variety of shade trees, groundcover plantings, crushed stone aggregate screenings with a stabilized binder additive, mobile device charging stations (where the student is seated) with small locator lights for nighttime visibility and portable tables and chairs.

Team List
Concord Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Cumming Corporation Construction Management
Mike Haener Irrigation
Taylor Wiseman Taylor Civil Engineering
Terminal Construction
USA Architects

Products Specified
-8"x16" 'Promenade' plank pavers, Umbriano finish
-1'x2' 'Umbriano' pavers
-4"x12" 'Promenade' plank pavers, Series 3000
Wicki Wholesale Stone Quarry, Great Meadows, N.J.: Bluestone

Finding Charging Stations


A search for charging stations at the brand new LADetails product search engine at reveals three, all of which are solar powered. Kay Park Recreation's new solar table/umbrella charging station (middle) lets people charge their mobile devices while they use outdoor facilities. The solar charging tree by SolarPath Sun Solutions (right) not only powers up devices, it is a light fixture and air monitoring station. The Steora Solar Smart Bench (left) provides USB and wireless cell phone charging, mobile WiFi Internet, area lighting, and more.

As seen in LASN magazine, June 2018.

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May 19, 2019, 8:26 am PDT

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