FHSU's Martin Allen Hall renovations honored for design excellence


HAYS, KS � American School and University magazine selected Fort Hays State University's Martin Allen Hall as one of its 202 profiled projects in the November 1999 issue. The publication was designated as the 1999 Architectural Portfolio issue.

The Topeka division of the Pennsylvania firm of Horst, Terrill and Karst Architects submitted the building for consideration in the publication. CF Abercrombie Architects of Russell combined efforts with Horst, Terill and Karst in the architectural design of the building's renovation.

The largest and most primary part of the remodeling process began in April 1998 and was completed in Dec. 1998. According to Dana Cunningham, director of facilities planning, the complete renovation of the building cost approximately $574,000.

No part of the building was left untouched during the remodeling. On the exterior, new handicap accessible entrances were installed on the east and north sides. On the inside, changes were much more extreme. Along with the improvement of classrooms and office space, an interior elevator was installed.
"Basically, the building was gutted out and we started over. It was a complete renovation of the inside," Cunningham said.

Prior to the renovation, Martin Allen Hall was home to the university's computing center. It now houses the Psychology Department, which was previously in Wiest Hall.

Robert Markley, interim chair of the Department of Psychology, said the building was designed with his department in mind. "We spent many hours with the architects deciding what we wanted and where we wanted it."

With the new design, Martin Allen Hall holds two seminar rooms, a computer lab, a clinical testing room with a two-way mirror, a classroom specifically for psychology lab classes, a student lounge and the capability to hold a small animal colony.

Markley said that the building has some negatives, but it is more functional for the needs of the department.
"We had more lab space before and we have less storage space now, but (this building) is much nicer. Things work better," Markley said.

For a building to be featured in the American School and University Architectural portfolio, the submission must go through a jury of AIA members and school administrators which evaluates submissions from architectural firms across the country. Then outstanding designs are chosen for publication in AS&U.

American School and University magazine, which focuses on educational facilities, purchasing and business administration, reaches more than 68,000 facility planners, school and university administrators, school board members and architects with this special issue. This is the 17th year this annual competition has been held.

In evaluating projects for publication, primary consideration was given to the design firm's solution to the stated educational program requirements. Specific characteristics considered included: environment; flexibility/adaptability; community use; quality of experience for user; durability; technology, and site adaptation.

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