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O'Donnell Hall receives Higher Education Building award after renovation project

For the renovations and additions completed in May 2008, New Mexico State University's O'Donnell Hall has been awarded the 2009 Best Higher Education Building by Southwest Contractor Magazine.



O'Donnell Hall has been awarded the 2009 Best Higher Education Building by Southwest Contractor Magazine. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

The 21-month long project, which started in August 2006, renovated 51,000 square feet in the building and added 35,000 square feet to the building's east side, including an atrium serving as a lobby and multi-purpose gathering area. Previously O'Donnell Hall, which houses NMSU's College of Education, had been severely overcrowded.

The project also updated the classrooms and office spaces to today's standards as well as adding newer classroom technology, including new screen projectors and podiums.

"The main standout feature of the building is the atrium in the lobby area," said Mike Hill of Van H. Gilbert Architect PC, project architect for O'Donnell Hall's renovation. "It provides a new lobby and multi-purpose gathering area as well as bringing natural daylight deeper into the building."

Hill said many others are to thank for the success of the O'Donnell Hall project and the award, among them university architect Michael Rickenbaker, Wooten Construction, C.D. Mechanical and Lynco Electric.

"Literally a cast of thousands were involved in the planning and construction of the building," Hill said.

The most challenging part of the project was upgrading the existing areas of the building to today's standards, as well as adapting those areas to make them look like the new additions while re-using the existing structures, Hill said. Thermal insulation was also installed throughout the building to reduce energy costs.

"The additions to O'Donnell give the College of Education more adequate space so they can continue to provide education to future educators, which affects us all," Hill said. "I think that's a high and important mission."

For more information contact the NMSU Facilities, Planning and Construction Department at (575) 646-1016.