Thinking Inside a Box
Students at the University of Montana may be slightly more excited about going back to school, thanks in part to the newly-renovated Eck Hall. Formerly known as the Liberal Arts Building, which was built in 1954, Eck Hall continues to be one of the most heavily utilized buildings on campus. The structure serves faculty and thousands of students who take more than 600 classes in 30 classrooms. The building had a stark, harsh environment for students with no social spaces and was in need of significant upgrades. Thanks to another generous donation from UM alum Dennis Eck and his wife, Gretchen, construction crews are putting the finishing touches on phase four of a multi-year renovation which has gradually transformed Eck Hall into one of the most technologically advanced buildings on the campus.
Creating gathering spaces and providing more light in the building were two of the main design objectives. Since construction was restricted to summer months, it was essential to have a clear and concise plan in place during this multi-phase project. While maintaining the historic integrity of the building, classrooms were renovated, outdated mechanical systems were upgraded to improve temperature control and provide a healthy and productive environment for building users. Classrooms were designed to allow flexibility and modernized with new finishes and technological advancements including video-conferencing, interactive smart boards and video walls. Increased daylighting, improved acoustics, and overall safety and accessibility improvements have occurred at renovated areas.
The success of this project was the result of a great team and well-defined planning. Comma-Q looks forward to more projects with the University of Montana (psst, we might not be done yet!).