Melding old & new

"If it hadn’t been for the School of Horology, there would have been no Bradley."

– George Wild, Horology dean, 1931–61

Westlake reborn

Home to the School of Horology from 1897 to 1961, Westlake Hall now reigns as the final jewel of the Campaign for a Bradley Renaissance. Adjacent to Bradley Hall and the new Hayden-Clark Alumni Center, the photo above depicts a west campus view of Westlake, highlighting a 71,105-square-foot expansion. With a new address on Tobias Lane (formerly Glenwood), many of Westlake’s faculty offices and classrooms on the west side enjoy a view of the Markin Family Student Recreation Center, Alumni Quad, and Tobias Circle, where the Bradley University flag is now flown. The new lane and cul-de-sac were named in honor of Lydia Moss Bradley’s husband and their firstborn child, as a memorial to the family.

Westlake shines

Come along on a photo tour of the spectacular new facility.

"This original wrought iron staircase reminds me that more than 100 years ago, Lydia Moss Bradley walked these halls and touched this very handrail that I touch each day."

Dr. Joan L. Sattler
Dean of the College of Education and Health Sciences

How times have changed. Originally named Horology Hall 115 years ago, Westlake Hall opened its new doors for the 2012 fall semester, following a $24 million renovation and a 71,105-square-foot expansion. Housing more than $1 million in sophisticated technology, the College of Education and Health Sciences (EHS) takes the concept of collaborative learning to a new extreme.

Along with sunlight pouring into the spacious atrium, an expansive wall of live bamboo creates an inviting learning environment. Comfortable work spaces abound in the atrium, and innovative theater seating adjacent to the main stairwell offers flat-panel projection opportunities for practicing presentations.

Touring Westlake Hall with lifelong educator Dr. Joan L. Sattler was truly a learning experience. She paused at Westlake’s entrance and noted how it received a facelift with new exterior doors that remained true to the design of the originals. The EHS dean smiled for the next hour as she pointed out original architectural elements, including a section of stunning barrel ceilings, juxtaposed against state-of-the-art improvements. Housed in the original portion of the building, her bright, spacious office overlooks Olin Quad. 

“This experience has been the pinnacle of my career,” Sattler said. “Considering that our calling is to prepare educators and health care professionals in this academic building, our priority — every renovation and improvement — focused on an engaged learning and group project-based approach both inside and outside of the classroom. In fact, I prefer the words ‘teaching and learning spaces’ instead of ‘classrooms.’” 

In the lower level, a computer lab accommodates 28 students, offering individual and group workspaces and wall-mounted monitors. Smart board technology here and in most classrooms promotes an interactive learning environment. Lab management software enables instructors to view any student’s monitor and display its contents to the class.

Eight expansive collaboration spaces are strategically located throughout Westlake Hall. Technology allows students to videotape their presentations, display them on wall monitors, and critique the results. Glass tabletops and “idea” walls painted with white IdeaPaint allow students to use dry-erase markers on writable surfaces when collaborating on projects. Dr. Helja Antola Crowe, professor of teacher education and EHS Global Scholars director (pictured above, standing), works with students.

Cork flooring in this area and other high-traffic locations, along with porcelain tile flooring, are examples of the focus to incorporate renewable resources. According to planning supervisor KIM GREEN ’96, the Westlake project was designed to achieve LEED Gold certification. “From construction and waste material to our furniture selections, specific criteria had to be met. Anything that could be recycled was — that has been the most significant part of the certification.”

With an eye toward maintaining a sense of Westlake’s history, copper gutters and downspouts, now on interior walls, remain attached to the unique limestone exterior of the original building. “The small details mean everything,” added Green.

Boasting 16 teaching spaces, a 100-seat auditorium, 60 faculty offices, five counseling suites, and a 135-seat professional development center, Westlake Hall is home to:

  • College of Education and Health Sciences
  • Department of Teacher Education
  • Center for STEM Education
  • Department of Leadership in Education, Human Services, and Counseling
  • Institute for Principled Leadership in Public Service
  • Center for Collaborative Brain Research
  • Hospitality Leadership
  • Counseling Research and Training Clinic
  • Robert and Carolyn Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Located in the original building, the Center for Collaborative Brain Research offers students the opportunity to conduct research with co-director Dr. Lori Russell-Chapin in a collaborative partnership between OSF Saint Francis Medical Center and the Illinois Neurological Institute.

Dr. Hwa Lee and Dr. Celia Johnson work in the Assistive Technology Lab with students learning about instructing children with special needs. Lee helped design the lab that includes an observation room and panel-surround acoustic treatments for teaching individuals with hearing impairment. The EHS dean notes that faculty helped design their respective classrooms and labs. “Each one of us believes we own a piece of Westlake,” Sattler said.

Dr. Shari L. Britner, associate professor of teacher education, works with students in the science lab using probes to measure the magnetic fields of magnets. Seven science workstations are equipped with water, gas, and pressurized air. A vented fume hood supports science activities in addition to Smart board and iPad technology. 

Dr. Nancy Sherman, professor of clinical mental health counseling, observes classroom activity from behind a one-way mirror in one of three small therapy rooms. Two larger group counseling rooms also have observation booths and advanced instructional technology, including recording equipment.

Westlake’s expansion literally opens doors for all students, especially those with special needs. Westlake is now ADA accessible from the northeast entrance and the west entrance across from the Markin Family Student Recreation Center. ADA accessibility was a significant component in the project. Kim Green notes, “Bradley has come leaps and bounds from the original building in solving problems with stairs and access to the building.”

An elevator serves the new wing. As a result of the elevation variances between the original building and the expansion, glass-walled ramps were constructed in the atrium to bridge corresponding floors for accessibility.

To preserve the decades-old oak between Westlake and Bradley Halls, architects adjusted the original footprint, and offices were reconfigured with a curved exterior wall, adding to the beauty of the building.


Visit bradley.edu/go/ht-westlaketimelapse for a video of Westlake’s transformation.

"We’re going to build an educational facility like this only once in a lifetime."

– Kim Green ’96
   Planning supervisor

Located in the new Westlake wing, the professional development center, at the rear of Westlake, is a multipurpose area on the main floor with access to an outside patio. The center seats 135, features a staging kitchen, and can be closed off to make two separate rooms for simultaneous functions. The center’s first campuswide event took place in September when “The Ability Exhibit,” an interactive traveling exhibit, promoted inclusion of people with disabilities, attracting hundreds of students.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation RAY LaHOOD ’71 HON ’11 visited with faculty and students at Westlake in September. The former teacher met with Brad McMillan, the executive director of the Institute for Principled Leadership in Public Service, in the IPL office suite on the main floor. 

The only place to find somewhat traditional rows of desks in the 84,591-square-foot building is in the auditorium; however, the 100-seat auditorium is anything but traditional. The mediated/smart classroom offers lecture capture technology, and acoustical applications on the walls provide sound control. Nursing instructor and critical care nurse JOE DEGITZ ’97 MSN ’09 uses the auditorium’s interactive projection system controlled by an iPad while teaching his medical-surgical nursing theory class.

– Karen Crowley Metzinger, MA ’97