Design-Build Team Selected for Comprehensive Transformation at Penn State - Clayco

Design-Build Team Selected for Comprehensive Transformation at Penn State

St. Louis, MO – The Clayco/DLA+ Architecture & Interior Design /Mackey Mitchell Architects design-build team has been selected to dramatically transform East Halls at The Pennsylvania State University, one of the largest residence hall construction projects undertaken by the university. At a cost of $152 million, Phase One of the East Halls project includes significant enhancements to outdoor spaces, construction of one new 336 bed residence hall and the renovation of five existing halls, originally built in the 1960s, to be completed in three successive 14-month construction periods. At the completion of Phase One in the summer of 2019, there will be a total of 1,993 new and renovated beds at East Halls. The remaining nine existing buildings are planned to be renovated shortly thereafter during Phase Two and will result in a total population of 4,570 renovated and new beds.

In a Penn State News article, Gail Hurley, associate vice president for Auxiliary and Business Services commented, “Students and their families have expectations of college living that are much different from what they were when our facilities were first built. Although location is still a major consideration in a student’s decision to live on or off campus, privacy, amenities and costs are other critical factors.”

Intended to house first year students, the project is envisioned as a comprehensive transformation of the student residential experience. Enhancements to outdoor spaces (including gathering areas for groups small and large, recreational zones, and carefully laid out pedestrian walks) have been given as much thought and attention as the improvements to the building facades and interior environments. A guiding principle from the beginning has been to establish a consistent level of excellent amenities in a balanced way. Social spaces within each building are expressed with glassy and transparent enclosures, referred to as “lanterns” making those places bright and open with remarkable views to the rest of campus and the agrarian surroundings. Design elements conceived for the new building informed ideas used in the existing buildings. Conversely, working within the constraints of the existing buildings resulted in design solutions that were applied to the new building. Through this process of mutual insights, working closely with many Penn State stake holders, East Halls will be rebuilt as a refreshed and cohesive community.

Penn State chose the design-build delivery method to ensure the success of this ambitious and complicated long-term project. All of the constituents developed a project charter, detailing how each team member would perform their duties to work toward a common goal. This collaborative, team-oriented approach has helped maintain schedules and budgets at each step of the design process. Prior to being selected, the Clayco/DLA+/Mackey Mitchell Architects team came forth with a compelling design approach for a fundamental transformation. It included amenities and creative alternatives aimed at improving safety during construction, and increased value within the budget.

According to Steve Emer, AIA, LEED B+C, President of Mackey Mitchell Architects, “We’re currently in the early stage of design development with the team continuing to refine each building, working through more technical aspects, including site integration, landscaping and utility requirements through extensive work sessions with Penn State.” “Cost estimates are on track with the original budget,” he continues. “In fact, the team has developed a list of alternate ideas, working closely with Penn State, as a means of finding ways to include desirable elements on their ‘wish list’.”

About Mackey Mitchell Architects

Led by a team of ten principals, the firm has offices in St. Louis, Missouri, Lawrence, Kansas, and Asheville, North Carolina, and provides full-service architectural services to clients nationwide. MMA has a national reputation for expertise in higher education projects. Over 1.1 million students live and learn in our spaces at more than 75 campuses nationwide. We’ve had a long-term relationship with Washington University in St. Louis, including the recent Hillman Hall (formerly Brown School of Sociology); and the Olin Business School. Other recent work includes Texas Tech University and several projects at Miami University of Ohio, Oxford. We’ve been recognized by Architectural Record as one of “America’s Best-Managed Firms,” by Architect Magazine as a Top 100 Firm, and in 2012 by Zweig Group as one of the nation’s Top Three Firms.

About Clayco

Clayco is a full-service, turnkey real estate development, master planning, architecture, engineering and construction firm that delivers clients around the world the highest quality solutions on time, on budget, above and beyond expectations. With $1.14 billion in revenue for 2014, Clayco specializes in the “art and science of building,” providing fast-track, efficient solutions globally for commercial, institutional, industrial and heavy civil infrastructure-related building projects. For more information, visit

About DLA+

DLA+ is a full-service architecture and interior design firm dedicated to providing Strategic Architecture Solutions ℠ through a collaborative and integrated approach to delivering projects for clients in higher education, sports, corporate/commercial, Government, healthcare and retail/hospitality. Fueled by a creative and talented team, the once, two-person firm has grown to 30 people in just six years earning a spot as one of the “100 Fastest Growing Companies in Pittsburgh,” and the “INC 5000 Fastest Growing Companies” in the United States two years in a row. The firm’s commitment to the client experience has resulted in repeat business and longstanding relationships which includes The Pennsylvania State University.