Architects for the Allen Hall building project were selected earlier this month, paving the way for the expansion and improvement plans.

Eugene-based firm TBG will team up with Portland-based firm YGH for the Allen Hall Transformation project. Both firms, working together, bring experience in seismic upgrades, renovations to historic buildings and expertise in sustainable design. TBG architects worked with outside help from on the UO Recreation Center and Knight Library additions, while YGH has worked on the UO Knight Law Center.

“We’re anxious to get into the pre-construction phase now that the architects are on board,” said Coleen Ebert, SOJC Director of Operations.The project will involve a three-story addition and a remodel, including energy and seismic upgrades to the existing 1922 and 1954 wings. Prominent features of the new building will include a sky-lit atrium; media galleries where students can display their work; a signature lecture hall seating up to 80 people; a hearth, or central meeting space, which may include a café; and a digital commons — an open-air collaborative computer lab environment. These changes better reflect the industry and the way students learn.The digital commons is an exciting opportunity for us to reorganize our computer labs to better reflect the changes in curriculum and industry,” says Andre Chinn, SOJC Information Technology Coordinator. “Because of the way journalism is changing and our student workflow is changing, it makes sense to symbolically and literally tear down the walls.”

In addition, plans include new classrooms and faculty office space.

“Your environment elevates your thinking; space affects learning – if we want to attract the top students and faculty, the space needs to reflect that,” says Tim Gleason, Edwin L. Artzt dean of the SOJC.

Based on conceptual designs, $15 million will be required to fund direct construction costs. A $5 million anonymous gift, paired with $7.5 million state matching and an additional $580,000 in donations leaves a total of $1.9 million left to raise by July 2011.

“I’m confident with the support of the university leadership and our friends and alumni we will reach and exceed our goal to create an Allen Hall that reflects the innovation and thought leadership of our students and faculty,” says Sara Mason, Director of Development.

In addition to development activities, next steps for the building project include developing a schematic design and hiring a building contractor. Groundbreaking is scheduled for fall of 2011.