2WR+Partners (Architect) and Brasfield & Gorrie (General Contractor) celebrate the re-opening of Howard Hall this month to Columbus State University students, many of whom are freshmen attending their first classes here. On the first day, many were drawn to spend time in the new student lounges on the first and second floors, where they were able to re-charge and connect with one another.
The renovation has truly re-established the building as a student destination. The design focuses on 21st century teaching technology, flexible classroom spaces, energy-efficient building systems, improved accessibility, and new gathering spaces for collaborative study. The exposed concrete structure highlights the original construction while a new stone wall marks the primary pedestrian axis through campus and ties in with newer campus facilities.
John Lester, D.P.A., Assistant Vice President for University Relations at CSU, had this to say:
"With this renovation project, we have transformed one of the most heavily used buildings on campus into a stylish, technology-infused collection of classrooms and meeting areas that has already proved to be extremely popular for the students. We have no doubt that the physical improvements will help us with the recruitment of students, and we have no doubt that the improved teaching environments and technology will aid in learning and retention."
Pat McHenry, Professor of English and Associate Dean, College of Letters and Sciences at CSU, explains:
" I've walked through Howard several times this week (the first week of classes), and I find students using it exactly in the way we discussed in the design process. They're interacting with each other and with faculty in the new common spaces, using the moveable furniture to create spontaneous study sessions, and taking advantage of the wifi and charging outlets for their devices.
One of the main things faculty and students wanted in the renovation was a flexible learning environment. Before the renovation, it was difficult to rearrange a classroom, but now the entire space and its furnishings are designed to be rearranged as needed. Features that make this possible range from mobile and collapsible furniture, to the location of writing surfaces on more than one wall so the class is not locked into one orientation.
The thing that everyone notices is that the classroom space is just more pleasant. The new HVAC is a big improvement. The exposed beam ceilings make an enormous difference in the comfort level of the room compared to the low dropped ceilings that it had before. The acoustics are very good thanks to the carpet and the fiber panels between the ceiling joists."
Ryan Wampler, Project Manager, Brasfield & Gorrie, states:
“Brasfield & Gorrie has been excited to be a part of the Columbus State University campus improvements and looks forward to continued partnership with the university, 2WR+Partners and the Columbus community as they continue to grow.”
Michael Starr, 2WR Principal and Project Manager for the Howard Hall Renovation, concludes:
"We have enjoyed the process of working with the staff, faculty, and administration at CSU and the Board of Regents to develop a project that serves their needs, many of their wants, and inspires its occupantswhile remaining under budget. As the first step in the development of the campus' master plan, may Howard Hall set the standard for future renovations."