Ohio University McCracken Hall

Athens, Ohio

RVC Architects
Champlin Architecture

LEED Certification:
LEED Certified

Construction Cost:
$32.8 million

Project Size:
109,000 SF

OU - McCracken Hall

McCracken Hall is a landmark for the Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. The three-story, 66,600 SF structure was initially constructed in 1959. While minor structural renovations had taken place over the years, there had been no upgrades to the original systems. With the university experiencing growth and expansion of its programs, an expansion of the existing building began in May 2015. The $32.8 million renovation project increased the building’s footprint to a 100,500 SF L-shaped facility with a new four-story addition.

This project reimagined McCracken Hall with a dynamic space layout, creating an attractive, flexible environment for formal and casual learning. The interior design created various classroom types and sizes and plenty of faculty office and support space. Collaboration between students and faculty is supported through a series of smaller project rooms and varied gathering areas, both large and small.

As the structural engineer, the SMBH team faced several challenges with this renovation project. Because the original building was constructed with much lower story heights than those required for modern buildings, we designed a structural system for the floor in the addition that matched the existing and new floor levels while allowing space above the ceiling for electrical, plumbing, and ductwork. A two-way flat plate concrete slab system was chosen for the floors as an economical way to meet the project requirements.

One unique aspect of this project was the ability to reuse much of the original infrastructure, including more than 90 percent of the original exterior walls, roof, and floor structures. Approximately 70% of the existing clay roof tile could be salvaged, and new tiles were purchased from the original manufacturer. Brick was also recovered from demolished exterior walls and reused to match damaged areas in the remaining walls.