American Seating

Louisiana State University

Products:

Stellar® Series 35-216 with Tablet Arms and Focus Acton® Swing-Away

Quantity:

1,525 chairs in the Business Education Complex and hundreds more across 19 different facilities

Location:

Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Download a PDF of this case study

Seating for Louisiana State University Requires Commitment to Excellence…And History

Louisiana State University is the flagship institution of the Louisiana State University System. Founded in 1860, the University has a rich history of academic and athletic excellence. It also boasts a myriad of historically significant buildings with distinctive architectural features. In fact, 57 buildings on the LSU campus are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Preserving this world-class architectural, academic and athletic status requires a dedicated commitment to excellence, even when it comes to selecting the seating products for the school’s various facilities.

Although not quite as old as LSU, American Seating has been making high quality seating products for over 126 years. The company began by producing products specifically for the education market. Not long after its founding, it introduced the first – and now-iconic – student desk and chair unit. With its own commitment to excellence, a focus on serving the education market and a storied history of innovations, American Seating was proud to send its products from Grand Rapids, Mich., to the LSU campus in Baton Rouge. “In my experiences working with LSU, I know that the University appreciates quality product and demands exacting service,” said DeLisa Arnold of Arnold & Associates Interiors Inc. Arnold’s company has worked with LSU for more than 20 years, providing consultation and representing a wide variety of manufacturers, including American Seating.

Meeting the Client’s Need
Arnold’s business philosophy is rooted in finding and meeting the needs of the client. In LSU’s case, from a facilities standpoint, the University needed a reliable seating product across the campus. Not unlike other schools, LSU faced constant (and costly) maintenance and repair problems with many of their existing seats. Furthermore, as enrollment increased, many of the seating configurations were inflexible to meet greater student demand. And finally, obsolete seating lines left the University at a loss to find replacement parts for damaged chairs.

“Our clients in the Facility Services department at LSU have a demanding job. The last thing they need are problems related to an inferior product. This is why we recommend American Seating to the architects and specifiers we work with,” Arnold said. “American Seating products are not typically the lowest initial purchase price, but end-users save more money in the long run with a quality product that will endure. It’s a lesson many who accept the ‘low bid’ learn the hard way.”

Today, American Seating product can be found in nearly 20 buildings across the LSU campus. American Seating’s ability to produce an extremely durable and reliable chair is an important factor in its continued specification at client locations across the country. But a wide range of product options that offer flexible and customizable solutions are additional reasons. American Seating products are installed in classrooms, auditoriums, laboratories and sports facilities including LSU’s Journalism Building, the LSU Student Union Senate Chamber Room and Tiger Stadium.

A Crown Jewel

Perhaps the University’s most notable project in the past few years has been the March 2012 completion of its multi-million dollar, 156,000 square-foot Business Education Complex (BEC). A crown jewel for the E. J. Ourso College of Business, the facility brings together world-class teaching and learning with business
information and experts worldwide. The complex is comprised of four buildings and contains state-of-the-art classrooms, labs, offices and dining areas. The architectural design reflects LSU’s historic Italianate style through the combination of modern glass, metal and stone with sloped gabled roofs and arches.

American Seating’s fixed-lecture Stellar® product, a “work horse selection,” was chosen for the complex’s 300-plus-seat auditorium. The Focus® Acton swing-away, a durable yet highly flexible product, was specified for the classrooms. Featuring a 360-degree turning capability, the chairs enable greater student-toinstructor and student-to-student interaction, a key element in today’s higher education learning environment. All of the seats are equipped with power source and wire management troughs for electronic device capability.

Every American Seating product – all 313 Stellar chairs and all 1,200 Acton chairs – were specified with LSU’s unmistakable purple fabric and a custom pecan wood finish for the Stellar seat backs and arm rests. The result: The seats complement the building’s modern design and further enhance each interior space’s inviting and contemporary aesthetic.

“American Seating provides a product that holds up well on our campus,” said LSU’s Assistant Director of Planning, Design and Construction Mary Miles, who played an integral role in the development of the BEC.

A First-Class Outcome

According to LSU’s Planner of Facility Services Sarah Hutchinson, American Seating products not only perform the necessary function, but also help create the look desired by the University. Hutchinson was in charge of renovating one of the original buildings on the campus Quad built in 1937. The University needed to
replace the original chairs in the classroom auditorium, which were American Seating chairs and had stood the test of time for more than 70 years. The new seats needed to better accommodate today’s tech-savvy student. Completed just in time for the fall 2012 school year, the auditorium is now outfitted with 345
Stellar seats, nearly half of which have a power source to accommodate laptops and other electronic devices.

“Everyone who has seen this classroom is in awe,” said Hutchinson. “Not only did we achieve a stunning look, but we are better meeting the needs of our students and using a product that can assist us in saving time and money on maintenance costs. This was a technically challenging renovation and installation
with a tight timeline, but we could not be more pleased.”

Working with a world-class institution like LSU is an honor for both Arnold & Associates and American Seating.