Faculty, students critique floor plans

Jennifer Mussig

Redesigns for Oscar Ritchie Hall discussed

Michael Woods, architect from Moody Nolan, Inc., modifies a proposed floor plan for the Oscar Ritchie Hall renovations. Architects from the company changed the plans according to comments from students and stakeholders. AMANDA SOWARDS | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

Faculty and students were able to view and comment on five possible floor plans for the Oscar Ritchie Hall rehabilitation yesterday.

This process was created to have interaction with potential stakeholders, said Curt Moody, president of Moody Nolan, Inc.

Architects from Moody Nolan, Inc., engineers, an interior designer, a construction manager and architects from the university gathered to evaluate different designs for Oscar Ritchie Hall, as well as listen to feedback from faculty and students. Moody called this “responsive architecture.”

“Instead of a predetermined final solution, we develop several approaches and receive input,” Moody said. “The final design comes from a consensus of what the stakeholders want. As we hear positive and negative feedback, we develop a response combining the best of what we’ve heard.”

Michael Woods, architect for Moody Nolan, Inc., explained each potential floor plan to interested faculty and students. He explained the thought that went into each design and what the architects were trying to accomplish. People were encouraged to give their opinion and write comments on the floor plan. Woods said the end result would be a hybrid of the positive comments.

Several different design concepts were thrown out there to spark communication, said Beth Ruffing, project manager and assistant director of capital planning. This allows everyone, through dialogue, to come to a consensus of how the building should be organized, she added.

Historical data was used to determine the net area remaining for use in the building after items such as hallways and stairs are considered, Ruffing said. She added that there is enough space remaining, so an addition to Oscar Ritchie Hall will not be necessary. This meeting will help determine the organization of rooms. Room size will be determined later.

As decisions are made as to what the stakeholders want, they are run by Jeff Mulcahey, construction manager from Hammond Construction. Mulcahey said his staff works from concept to completion. Their job is to evaluate the price and maintain the schedule for design and construction, he added.

Diedre Badejo, chairperson of the Center of Pan-African Culture, said she liked bits and pieces of each design. It is very exciting to get a chance to see what the renovated building will look like and where people can improve the program, she added.

“We can move things around,” Badejo said. “It’s like playing with Legos.”

At the beginning of the design phase, a meeting was held for all the stakeholders, said Chinwe Abulokwe, architect for Moody Nolan, Inc. Those included in the meeting were the Department of Pan-African Studies, the Center of Pan-African Culture, the University Architect’s Office and some students. They were asked to imagine that the project was finished and to reflect on what they would like to have happened during the project, Abulokwe said.

“We would like to have created a ‘Wow!’ building on time, within budget and just what the doctor ordered,” Abulokwe said when asked the same question.

Contact buildings and grounds reporter Jennifer Mussig at [email protected].