Murray Hall Renovation Returns Historic Building to Use on OSU Campus
Following the comprehensive rehabilitation and expansion of a circa-1934 women’s dormitory building, Oklahoma State University (OSU) now has a new home for its College of Arts and Sciences. Designed by Dewberry, the modernization and retrofit returned Murray Hall, which had been vacant and unused for more than a decade, to use as a classroom building with offices, an auditorium, and a student plaza.
Set at the historic entrance to the OSU campus in Stillwater, Murray Hall reflects the university’s Georgian architectural heritage and had served the campus as a dormitory for more than 60 years. Upon its opening, the four-story building was considered among the largest residence halls in the country, accommodating more than 150 women. During World War II, the building was used by the United States Navy, which housed WAVES and radar trainees.
By 1984, Murray Hall no longer served as a residence hall but was still in use for other campus needs. The building was closed a few years later, with water damage and other signs of deterioration. Dewberry’s redesign of the 85,000-square-foot structure created new spaces to house the College of Arts and Sciences and added a new below-grade auditorium between the building’s two wings and a new student plaza above the auditorium.
The unique adaptive reuse involved gutting much of the interior of the facility to accommodate new mechanical/electrical systems. The design team also focused on ADA compliance and the historic restoration of several spaces, including entrances, the main parlor, and other parlor areas.
Dewberry worked closely with CMSWillowbrook, construction manager on the project. “The construction management approach on this project assisted greatly as the contractor was able to field verify existing conditions and participate in the selection of innovative building systems and processes to maximize available square footage and preserve the original Modified Georgian architecture,” says David L. Huey, AIA, LEED AP, who served as principal-in-charge for Dewberry.
Dewberry provided architecture, interior design, and structural and civil engineering for the project. Phillips & Bacon provided mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering.
“The renovation of Murray Hall has been a significant event within the College of Arts and Sciences that has brought together several social science and humanities departments previously scattered across the campus,” says Dr. Peter Sherwood, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “We continue to receive a large number of compliments about the building’s design and functionality. We’ve been impressed with the ability of Dewberry’s architectural staff to balance an overall vision of the building with specific needs across academic departments.”
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