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University Breaks Ground on Renovation, Expansion of Ozark Hall

Watercolor rendering focuses on new wing of Ozark Hall, a traditional, Collegiate Gothic style structure.

Rendering of the Ozark Hall addition, future home of the Honors College, by Tom Schaller/Robert A.M. Stern Architects and WD&D Architects.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – University of Arkansas officials, faculty and students broke ground Tuesday, Aug. 30, on the renovation and expansion of Ozark Hall, located in the historic core of campus.

The existing structure, which dates back to 1940, will be updated to create a fully accessible, energy-efficient home for the Graduate School and International Education, and the department of geosciences in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. An approximately 21,000-square-foot addition to the south wing of the building will provide a permanent home for the Honors College as well as a 275-seat auditorium. A landscaped courtyard has been designed to accommodate special events, rest and recreation.

Robert A.M. Stern Architects of New York City, a leading architecture firm renowned for adding buildings to the nation’s most prestigious and beautiful college and university campuses, designed the addition in collaboration with Arkansas firm Wittenberg, Delony & Davidson Architects.

“As part of the campus mall and the historic campus core, Ozark Hall is a significant part of the identity and character of our campus,” said Chancellor G. David Gearhart. “By taking care of existing resources, we promote a culture of sustainability on campus, while preserving a cherished part of our history for future generations to use and enjoy.”

Clad in Indiana white limestone in a Collegiate Gothic style, Ozark Hall was built in two phases. The first phase, originally known as the Classroom Building, was completed in 1940 with funding provided by the Public Works Administration. An addition to the east in 1947 linked the Classroom Building to the Commerce Building on the south, creating a U-shaped structure that served as the business administration building for many years. The Commerce Building was later razed. Most recently Ozark Hall has housed the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing, the Graduate School and the department of geosciences. It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1992.

“This renovation and addition to Ozark Hall will update one of our most historic buildings, and provide an outstanding home for us,” said Todd Shields, dean of the Graduate School and International Education. “It will incorporate technology, work spaces and a high-quality environment that will serve our graduate students and be a source of pride to us all.”

Ralph Davis, chair of the department of geosciences, said: “For more than 30 years Ozark Hall has been home to hundreds of geology and geography students, and dozens of esteemed faculty members – our alumni have great stories set within the halls, classrooms and labs. Geologists and geographers have a natural affinity for things that are historically significant, and so we are very proud to be part of the next life of historic Ozark Hall.” 

In addition to better serving these long-time residents, the renovated and expanded Ozark Hall will unite Honors College staff under one roof for the first time.

“Our new wing in Ozark Hall will give the Honors College a signature space that will help to define the intellectual community we are building on campus,” said Bob McMath, dean of the Honors College. “We appreciate all who have worked to make this marvelous project possible. It will benefit Honors College students, faculty and staff for many years to come.”

Ozark Hall is scheduled for completion in August 2013. The $27.1 million project has been made possible through the generous support of the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation and a bond supported by the student facility fee.



Kendall Curlee, director of communications
Honors College

Diane Cook, director of communications
Graduate School and International Education

Ali Williams, interim director of communications
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences