$1 Million Gift Allows Start of Apperson Hall Renovation


CORVALLIS — Oregon State University is moving forward with the renovation of Apperson Hall after a $1 million gift from Lee and Connie Kearney of Vancouver, Wash.

In 2004, the Kearneys provided the lead gift that kicked off fundraising for the project, and their total contribution now exceeds $4 million. A groundbreaking ceremony to officially launch the work will be held in October.

The effort to transform the historic 1898 hall into a modern facility for OSU’s civil and construction engineering programs will be funded entirely by private donations. While more contributions are still needed, the Kearney’s gift, which brings the total raised to $8.55 million, was enough to allow construction to begin this fall and avoid costly delays.

“This is a pivotal moment in the history of OSU’s civil and construction engineering programs,” said Ron Adams, dean of the College of Engineering. “We are very grateful to the Kearneys and all of our alumni and friends who have shown such tremendous support for this effort.”

To date, more than 500 alumni and friends of the university have donated to the project. Another $600,000 is still needed to meet an $850,000 challenge grant from the Kresge Foundation, completing the $10 million fundraising effort.

Work on the hall, which will be named in honor of the Kearneys, is scheduled to be completed in late 2007. The renovation will restore the historic exterior and create a modern interior featuring a 120-seat auditorium, a central light court and state-of-the-art classrooms. In addition, the building itself will be a teaching tool. The ceilings will be left exposed and “windows” into walls will be provided so that students can learn from real-world examples of structural, mechanical and electrical features.

The renovation also incorporates cutting-edge design to achieve Silver Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design qualifications in support of sustainable building practices.

A year ago, OSU celebrated the grand opening of its newest engineering building, the 156,000-square-foot Kelley Engineering Center, which recently received a LEED “Gold” certification. Both projects are part of OSU’s ongoing plan to build its College of Engineering into one of the best engineering programs in the country.

“It’s really a pleasure to see that all of this can happen because so many people who feel as we do have come forward to contribute,” said Lee Kearney. “This project is really needed to create a facility that is on the level with the excellence of OSU’s construction and civil engineering programs.”

Lee Kearney, a former director and division manager of Peter Kiewit Sons’ Co., earned his degree in civil engineering from OSU in 1963. Connie Kearney started her studies at OSU in 1961 on her way to an undergraduate degree from University of Washington and a law degree from Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. Lee Kearney currently sits on the College of Engineering’s advisory board, and Connie Kearney serves on the OSU Foundation Board of Trustees.