By Frank Radosevich II

For more than 100 years Bradley students have worked and learned in the classrooms of Westlake Hall, the second oldest building on campus.

And after two years of construction, the iconic building officially began its new life as a state-of-the-art learning facility.

During its Homecoming celebration on Friday, the University formally dedicated the building with a ceremony featuring students, faculty, administrators and supporters of the $24 million renovation project.

The renovation, part of Bradley’s $150 million Renaissance Campaign, has expanded the building to four stories tall and six times its former size, growing from 13,500 to 84,500 square feet. Construction began in March 2010 and wrapped up June of this year.

“This premiere academic facility is designed for engaged learning, for a project-based approach to learning and for collaborative learning across disciplinary lines,” Dr. Joan Sattler, dean of the College of Education and Health Sciences, which is housed in Westlake, said during the dedication ceremony. “This design will help our students use state-of-the-art technology to enhance teaching and learning.”

The new Westlake comes equipped with the latest technologies and was constructed to achieve Gold certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), which measures qualities such as energy savings, water efficiency and CO2 emissions reduction. Classrooms in Westlake include smart boards, large interactive boards that users can manipulate like tablet computers, and other state-of-the-art technology, such as lecture capture technology.

“Inside you’ll see the original building reborn with a new four-story atrium that’s full of light and full of student activity,” president Joanne Glasser said. “Not only is Westlake a beautiful building of significant history, it has become a model of conservation and sustainability.”