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-square-foot structure was originally constructed in 1959. While minor renovations to the structure have taken place over the years, there have 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-square-foot L-shaped facility with a new four-story addition.
This project reimagines McCracken Hall with a dynamic space layout, creating an attractive, flexible environment for formal and casual learning. The interior design creates a variety of classroom types and sizes along with 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. “The original building was constructed with story heights much lower than those required for today’s buildings,” commented Senior Project Engineer Bill Shelley, PE. “As such, we needed to select a structural system for the floors in the addition that permitted the new floor levels to match the original floors and still allow 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 percent of the existing clay roof tile was able to be salvaged and new tiles were purchased from the original manufacturer. Brick was also salvaged from demolished exterior walls and reused to match damaged areas in remaining walls.
McCracken Hall was opened, on schedule, for the 2017 spring semester.