CORVALLIS, Ore. – A public grand opening will be held on Friday, May 15, of Kearney Hall at Oregon State University – recognizing the successful $12 million renovation of Apperson Hall, a structure built in 1898 that has retained its historic exterior appearance while being transformed into a bright, energy-efficient and modern classroom, laboratory and research facility.
The grey stone façade of the building is one of the most recognizable structures on the OSU campus, and for more than a century has helped educate generations of engineers. It’s now complemented by a completely new interior, a central light court, 106-seat auditorium, and state of the art classrooms, as well as exposed ceilings and “windows” into walls that will provide students with real-world examples of structural, mechanical and electrical features.
The major renovation was made possible, in part, by more than $4 million in support from Lee and Connie Kearney of Vancouver, Wash., and the building has been renamed in their honor. Lee Kearney, a former director and division manager of Peter Kiewit Sons’ Co., earned his degree in civil engineering from OSU in 1963, and Connie Kearney began higher education at OSU before earning undergraduate and law degrees at other institutions.
Tours of Kearney Hall will be available from 1-4 p.m. as part of the Engineering Expo being held the same day on the OSU campus.
The grand opening, which is free and open to the public, will be from 4:30 to 5 p.m. in front of Kearney Hall, at the intersection of 14th and Monroe streets in Corvallis. College officials and other speakers, including Lee and Connie Kearney and Oregon Sen. Frank Morse, will discuss the legacy of the building, its significance to the College of Engineering and the Oregon economy, the new features and other topics.
“This structure has touched the lives of literally thousands of engineers across the nation and the world, generations of young students who took classes within its walls,” said Ron Adams, dean of the college. “It’s a handsome building that badly needed renovation on the interior, but we’ve been able to retain its historic exterior that adds such beauty and grace, and serves as the ‘front door’ to one corner of our campus.
“That was made possible by the vision of Lee and Connie Kearney, and more than 800 alumni and other friends of the university who donated to the project,” Adams said. “It’s a wonderful way to honor the history of the College of Engineering, even as we continue our efforts to grow, expand and make the college one of the nation’s premier programs in engineering education and research.”
Today, Kearney Hall houses the civil and construction engineering programs of the university, which are emerging as national leaders in “green” and sustainable engineering practices. Consistent with that, Kearney Hall was renovated with approaches that expect to earn it silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
“Kearney Hall, with its highly visible green components, is proving to be a tremendous learning environment for our students,” said Scott Ashford, head of OSU’s School of Civil and Construction Engineering. “You just can’t beat having the students see first hand what we discuss in the classroom.”