The second oldest women’s college in the US, Stephens College has been working with Mackey Mitchell since 2012 on strategies to transform and revitalize its historic campus. Following decades without a significant capital project, our objective was to establish momentum, articulate a new campus vision, and provide high-performing learning space for growth of STEM disciplines. Achieved under a challenging $6 million budget, the renovation and expansion of Sampson Hall provides over 20,000 square feet of modern teaching and laboratory space for the college’s new Master of Physician Assistant Studies program.
Campus leaders made a bold decision to renovate and expand a nondescript, vacant building to be the home for one of the school’s most vital and fastest growing degree programs. We began by stripping the 1940 building to its structural shell, then fitted it with modern infrastructure and systems to support high-technology classrooms and labs. The bottom two floors house a mix of formal and informal learning spaces, anchored by an adjoining pair of 30-seat active learning classrooms on the lower level. In partnership with HERA Laboratory Planners, we designed the upper two floor to provide more specialized, simulation learning spaces. This includes exam and observation rooms with the latest technology and a sophisticated, 7-table Dissection Lab on the top floor.
The renovated Sampson Hall is much more than a collection of well-appointed learning spaces. From the first moments of design, the design team worked to open up and unify space within the heavy concrete and masonry shell to promote flexibility and help spark a more engaged sense of community among faculty and students of all levels. Visual connections between casual study spaces on each floor allow students to remain connected as they spread out. The dramatic, glass-enclosed staircase acts as a visual and social connector for the entire building. The renovation has transformed a previously uninspired corner of campus into a welcoming, modern beacon of activity.
Passion + Perspective
Everyone is just blown away at how much thought and effort was put in by the faculty and designers to make sure we have everything we need.
- Erin Martin
Class of 2019
Principal in Charge
HERA Lab Planners,
SM Wilson + Reinhardt Construction Company,