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(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)September 14, 2004

7033-0(Mahwah) – The Overlook, the latest in a series of four new residential complexes built in the last five years at Ramapo College of New Jersey, opened Labor Day weekend. Seventy-two student suites, each containing a sitting room and two double bedrooms, each with a private bath, are organized into a narrow, eight story rectangular form built into the side of a hill overlooking Kameron Pond. With the top floors rising above the treetops, views of the nearby Ramapo Mountains are breathtaking. Floor lounges on the west side of the building feature glass on three sides.

The dramatic appearance of the building, especially from across the pond or to a student returning from class along a handicapped accessible path, is that of a narrow blade inserted into and projecting out of the hill. The landscaping concept utilizes indigenous plant materials and makes effective use of massive boulders unearthed during construction to recall the role of the ice age in shaping the geology of the entire area.

Designed by Palus Sokolowski & Sorter, and constructed by Century 21 Construction at a cost of $23.3 million, the Overlook accommodates 295 students on a small, steeply sloping site surrounded by wetlands, a beautifully appropriate response to numerous environmental constraints. The building is oriented perpendicular to the slope, thereby providing all student rooms (located on the long sides) with views of the Ramapo Mountains. Student lounges, with glass on three sides, are located at the narrow end of each floor, providing dramatic expansive views over the pond to the campus beyond.

This orientation, along the east-west axis, led to the architectural concept of two interlocking boxes, a pre-cast concrete box with punched windows and well-insulated walls on the north side, and a glass box on the south, more open to daylight and views, protected with sunshades. The concept has been carried through by exposing the pre-cast concrete in the interior, allowing the form of the concrete box to be expressed inside the building as well as outside.

Completed just in time for the start of the academic year, the Overlook opened at full capacity and is already being enjoyed by its residents. Plans have been developed for another residential facility, to be named Laurel Hall, scheduled to open in 2006.

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Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice, has been named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others. Ramapo College is also distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by CollegesofDistinction.com, boasts the best campus housing in New Jersey on Niche.com, and is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools.

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Business Administration, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Technology, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a post-master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice.

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