Strand Agriculture Hall re-opens after seismic, accessibility remodel

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Strand Agriculture Hall circa 1911

Strand Agriculture Hall is celebrating its re-opening after a two-year, extensive remodeling project.

The event will be Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 3 p.m., beginning at the West Portico Entrance that faces the Memorial Union Quad. The celebration, which is free and open to the public, will be followed by tours.

The building was originally completed in three phases, beginning in 1909 and finishing in 1913. At the time of its completion it was the largest building on campus, and over the years it has housed many different departments, but always with agriculture as its primary emphasis.

The 115,000 square-foot classroom and office building has undergone a major transformation, including extensive seismic and energy upgrades and dramatic improvements to building accessibility. Hoffman Construction was responsible for the work, which was designed by Henneberry Eddy Architects. The $24.9 million project was funded through a combination of bonds and State Energy Loan Program funds.

The building contains 16 general purpose classrooms and houses the dean’s office of the College of Agricultural Sciences. Dean Dan Arp will be one of the presenters at the re-opening celebration.

“It’s a thrill to see this building restored and renewed far beyond its former glory,” Arp said. “Strand Ag Hall is now an open, accessible space; it’s a seismically safe place; and it’s a beautiful space to invite people to explore agricultural sciences.”

Previously, Strand was known as one of the least accessible buildings on the Corvallis campus, but upgrades have now made it one of the most accessible, including creating four accessible entrances, an elevator that now reaches the fourth floor, fully accessible restrooms and upgrades to signage. Architects included shallow walkways on the exterior and interior ramps to make the entrances accessible, as well as a porch and ramps on the access point facing the Memorial Union, the most heavily trafficked student building on campus.

“The building truly showcases that when accessibility is considered throughout a project, the results are seamless,” said Gabriel Merrell, OSU associate director of Diversity, Community Engagement, and Accessibility and deputy ADA coordinator. “The features blend into the building – they are almost non-apparent. Contrast this with the former design where a big concrete ramp was introduced into a former window well, prominently segregating access into a separate entrance.”

Larry Landis, director of Special Collections and Archives Research Center at OSU, said Strand is unique in that it’s housed the College of Agricultural Sciences, in one form or another, throughout its history.

“There aren’t many colleges that can say they were located in the same building for the last 100 years,” Landis said.

~ Theresa Hogue

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