Newly redesigned Allen Hall opens to students Jan. 7

EUGENE, Ore. – (Jan. 4, 2013) – Young creative types scribble concepts on whiteboards or project their latest ideas on large flat screens for their colleagues’ feedback.

Others huddle around tables scattered around the building, arguing the best answer to a challenge, pinning each new solution to the wall.

It all may sound like a scene from a modern day newsroom or public relations agency, but it‘s actually what’s happening at the School of Journalism and Communication’s newly transformed Allen Hall. The 18-month, $15 million, three-story redesign, affectionately dubbed Allen Hall 3.0, puts collaborative learning and innovation at its heart.

Students returning on Jan. 7 will discover the three-story transformation added 18,000 square feet and seamlessly combines traditional classrooms with labs and informal learning spaces designed to serve how they work and learn. Ample outlets and fast Internet connections make it easy to plug in and log on. Students can write and project images on walls that are also magnetic.

The third-floor Digital Commons, a flexible space that can accommodate a large class or several smaller groups, exemplifies the new building’s open studio environment for teaching, collaboration and production — an ideal setting for the school’s innovative curricula. 

“One of the things that we are learning in the transformation of media industries is that collaboration is critical for creating rich and engaging work — and Allen Hall is designed for just that,” said Senior Instructor Mark Blaine. “It blends the virtual with face-to-face in ways that will be very exciting for our core digital storytelling classes like Gateway to Media, which focuses on building essential traditional skills while immersing students in an online media environment. That's exciting.”

Private gifts, including a $5 million anonymous lead gift and more than 80 contributions ranging from $10 to $300,000, covered half the costs of the $15 million renovation. State general obligation bonds authorized by the 2009 Oregon Legislature funded the rest.

“We are grateful to the donors who made this possible, to the legislators who supported this project and to the State of Oregon for the matching bond,” said Tim Gleason, the Edwin L. Artzt dean of the School of Journalism and Communication. “The new Allen Hall will inspire our faculty and students to do great work and give them the tools they need to do it.

“Of course, it’s not just about a building," Gleason said. "It’s about what people do here. We have created places for small groups of students to break away and develop their particular projects while still being connected to other groups and classes engaged in the same work. We believe the new Allen Hall will be the place where a group of students sitting around a table imagine and launch the future of journalism.”

The renovation unites Allen Hall’s 1922 and 1954 wings, preserving the building’s past while creating a modern, cohesive building. In 1954, when the last major addition was completed, the building served 300 majors. Today, it serves more than 2,000. Highlights include a digital gallery for showcasing student work, new and renovated classrooms, a hearth area and a signature lecture space.

“We’re delighted to open the doors to a world-class facility that matches the caliber of our School of Journalism and Communication,” said UO President Michael Gottfredson.

“This expansion and transformation here in the heart of campus will enable the school to remain integrated, physically and intellectually, into the life of our great university.” 

The building’s sustainable design is equivalent to LEED silver, and despite a 40 percent increase in space, the building’s energy use is net neutral and 26 percent more efficient than required by Oregon’s energy code. Designers anticipated changes in technology and student needs, making the building adaptable for the future.

Eugene’s TBG Architects + Planners was the architect of record. YGH Architecture of Portland was the design architect. Lease Crutcher Lewis was the contractor, and 99.6 percent of the contracts were granted to Oregon companies.

The university broke ground in June 2011. During the construction, Agate Hall housed the School of Journalism and Communication.

The school will open its doors to the general public at 1 p.m. on March 1. During a grand opening celebration to showcase the new Allen Hall, the university will thank the donors and friends who made the project possible.

About the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication

The University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC) produces outstanding writers, editors, digital media makers, strategists and critical thinkers by providing a program grounded in ethics, innovation and social responsibility. Students hone their skills while participating in award-winning student media such as Flux, OR Magazine, Mosaic and Oregon News, and more than 10 student groups including Allen Hall Advertising, Allen Hall Public Relations and the National Broadcasters Association. The SOJC hosts the annual Journalists- and Executives-in-Residence programs, as well annual events including the Ancil Payne Awards for Ethics in Journalism, the Hulteng Conversations in Ethics and the annual Johnston and Ruhl Lectures. The school counts nine Pulitzer Prize winners among its more than 9,000 graduates (journalism.uoregon.edu).

About the University of Oregon

The University of Oregon is among the 108 institutions chosen from 4,633 U.S. universities for top-tier designation of "Very High Research Activity" in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The UO also is one of two Pacific Northwest members of the Association of American Universities.

MEDIA CONTACT: Kellee Weinhold: UO School of Journalism and Communication, 541-346-2897, kelleew@uoregon.edu

Note: The University of Oregon is equipped with an on-campus television studio with satellite uplink capacity, and a radio studio with an ISDN phone line for broadcast-quality radio interviews.

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Newly redesigned Allen Hall opens to students Jan. 7