Sanford Hall on March 23 after an $18 million renovation to its interior and exterior. Click on the image for a full view. Photo by Marie Freeman
Sanford Hall is one of several major construction projects underway at Appalachian State University to enhance the Appalachian Experience.
The project supports the strategic plan of Appalachian and the university’s goals and metrics associated with the University of North Carolina System’s strategic plan. It will benefit students, academics and the community.
Built in 1968, Sanford Hall is structurally sound and meets the basic safety codes established in the late 1960s, but it needs renovation to outdated HVAC, electrical and fire suppression systems, air conditioning, classrooms and office space. The $18 million renovation is expected to extend the life of the building by as much as 40 years.
The renovated Sanford Hall will house the Department of English and feature improved classrooms and larger offices, as well as more common areas and collaborative workspace for students. The Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, which also had been in the building, will remain in the renovated L.S. Dougherty Hall, where it moved during summer 2019.
In October 2018, the UNC Board of Governors authorized $18 million for the project. LS3P Associates and Stanford White Engineering were selected for the project’s design. Work on the building began in summer 2019 and was expected to last until spring semester 2021.
The renovation work began with the replacement of 464 windows for energy savings and continued with the interior framing of 53 faculty and adjunct offices, 25 classrooms and a computer lab, followed by electrical and plumbing work. Stone veneer and masonry work on the existing building was completed during summer 2020. Last fall, brick masonry continued on the two elevator shafts that were added to the building.
As of spring semester 2021, the first four floors of the 71,000-square-foot building were complete. The fifth floor, which houses offices and meeting room space, will be opened this summer. The first phase of renovations included the following:
- Addition of air conditioning and a fire suppression system.
- Replacement of approximately 450 panes of glass for energy efficiency savings.
- Redesign of office spaces and classrooms.
- Creation of a new lecture hall, a large reception area and three specially designed film screening rooms.
- Complete replacement of the building’s electrical and mechanical systems, IT infrastructure and fire alarm system.
- Installation of a double elevator system, replacing the former single elevator.
- Addition of stone veneer and masonry work on the exterior, as well as landscaping and hardscaping.
A small gathering of university leadership, members of App State’s Board of Trustees and others from the Appalachian Community celebrated the building’s reopening with a ceremony March 25.
How is it funded?
The North Carolina General Assembly’s House Bill 1054, which unanimously passed on June 14, 2018, lets Appalachian take on self-liquidating debt for the project.
Who will benefit?
Every student at Appalachian takes at least one class in Sanford Hall. The building accommodates 4,600 students per day — 23,000 students per week. The building also is used by area high school students participating in Upward Bound and GEAR UP college access programs.
How does it support UNC System Goals and Metrics?
Providing the best environment for teaching and learning, particularly for first-year students, can impact recruitment and retention.
Major current projects:
- Conservatory for Biodiversity Education and Research
- Appalachian 105
- Residence halls
- Kidd Brewer Stadium — North End Zone
- Child Development Center Expansion
- Sanford Hall
- Career Development Center relocation
- Arts Corridor
- Wey Hall
- Boone Creek Daylighting
Capital projects at Appalachian continue, as Gov. Roy Cooper’s March 27, 2020, stay-at-home order considers construction, specifically for housing and on government property, as an essential business activity. For employee safety, contractors are taking protective measures against the coronavirus.
Construction at App State continues because:
• Discontinuing projects would severely impact project costs to the state, requiring more money to re-start an abandoned project and increasing the risk of material delays and some subcontractors going out of business.
• The new residence halls being built under a public-private partnership constitute a ground lease, whereby a private developer has created a timeline and is managing the construction privately. The financial feasibility of the project is based on a specific timeline tied to the academic year.
• In other construction on campus, bond money was approved by Appalachian’s Board of Trustees and the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian has a fiduciary responsibility to execute construction in the shortest time possible. And, much like a homeowner building a new home with a construction loan, the university is already making payments on the project.
An aerial view of areas receiving millennial campus designation at Appalachian State University. Video by Marie Freeman