Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Busse Center

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Institution Name: Mount Mercy College
Original/Historic Place Name: Sacred Heart Convent
Location on Campus: top of the hill
Date(s) of Construction:
1991-1992conversion Durrant Group
Designer: Durrant Group (Dubuque, IA)
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Contemporary (Glossary)
Significance: education, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: concrete
Walls: granite tiles
Roof: composition covered flat areas and glass atrium
ca. 1991private residence (home and garden of the Sisters of Mercy)
ca. 1991infirmary
ca. 1991chapel
pre- 1991other (Sacred Heart Convent)
ca. 2004-present (2006)other (campus ministry)
ca. 2004-present (2006)other (computer center)
ca. 2004-present (2006)library

The Busse Center building demonstrates the use of resources central to the mission of the college--both historic and contemporary. The architect took a large convent, gutted it, and built a state of the art library and computer center in most of the building, along with a student friendly campus ministry section, including campus chapel, in the other. The Sisters of Mercy sold this building to the college to foster its growth in all ways.

The front entry patio is a large glass roofed area containing "Triangle Dango," a piece by the acclaimed sculptor Jun Kaneko, as well as separate entries to the Busse Library/Computer Center and the Chapel/Campus Ministry. It is truly the campus's lively intellectual living room, with study on one side and a quiet place for reflection and service on the other. Both sections are central to the college mission of promoting intellectual growth, marketable skills, and opportunities to serve the wider community. The library is built around a large interior glass roofed atrium, from which the Board of Trustees meeting room is entered. The campus computer center, including administrative and academic computing and the media center, are part of the library as well.


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Council of Independent Colleges
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Last update: November 2006