Indiana State University Newsroom

Indiana State renovations garner national recognition

January 20, 2012

Two recently renovated Indiana State University buildings garnered national recognition for creatively utilizing the existing structures in the renovations.

American School & University, an organization for education facilities and business professionals, named renovations to Pickerl Hall and the Bayh College of Education as among the best in the nation in its 2011 Architectural Portfolio. The jury determining the selections considered multiple aspects of each project, including sustainability and community connection, though they also sought projects that use space efficiently and are a "living laboratory" for students, according to the publication.

While buildings constructed on a college campus have areas designed for specific uses, some spaces in Pickerl Hall and Bayh College of Education provide opportunities for greater student development, said Kevin Runion, assistant vice president for facilities management at Indiana State.

"What often is not thoroughly addressed are the ‘non-specific' spaces that should be planned, designed and constructed to foster ‘accidental interactions' of students with their peers and with faculty members," Runion said. "These quite often are the spaces where true learning occurs away from the traditional classroom lecture setting - learning that often is the foundation for true and meaningful student development."

The $8.7 million Pickerl Hall renovations that were completed in July reconfigured the 40-year-old structure to house the University Honors Program. The architectural publication highlighted several of the renovation changes, which include a bi-level entry that replaced a ramp at the entrance and 16-foot windows to allow for natural daylight. Also, American School & University highlighted student rooms that were renovated and now include private bathrooms, walk-in closets and wireless Internet.

The publication also mentions several challenges with the renovation, including relocating an elevator shaft and accommodating pipes and ductwork "in low floor-to-ceiling heights." Unique challenges always occur when renovating an existing structure, including Pickerl Hall, said Rex Kendall, director of residential life at ISU.

"Careful and significant planning has to take place to make sure the renovations, once completed, reflect the current trends of residence halls on college and university campuses," Kendall said. "We wanted the renovations of Pickerl Hall to be noticeable to the campus community and anyone visiting our campus."

The publication noted that the nearly $35 million renovation for the Bayh College of Education was finished in 2009, and transformed a structure originally built in 1934 as the university's laboratory school. Renovation highlights included in the Bayh College listing include the renovation of an exterior courtyard into an indoor atrium, "establishing it as the building's ‘town square.'"

"Renovations transformed the old facility into a progressive, dynamic learning space," the publication reports.

The renovations provide sustainability for the building, which meets current necessities "without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs," said Brad Balch, dean of the Bayh College of Education. The building also provides opportunities for traditional educational programming while also allowing for "incidental learning" and for students to reflect on what they've learned.

"Students enjoy being in our building. Faculty members also enjoy teaching in our building," Balch said. "This contributes greatly to the professional feel of our building - it's simply a great place to be. "

Community and alumni response has also been overwhelmingly positive, he added.

"We still provide tours frequently and receive so many kind cards and letters affirming our renovation efforts," Balch said. "The dean's office now has a self-guided tour document for visitors wishing to tour the building."

The recognition for the renovations exemplifies the work that many people, including students, faculty and staff members, architects and alumni had in providing insight into the projects, Runion, Kendall and Balch said.

Interior of the Bayh College of Education

The renovated Pickerl Hall

Bayh College of Education

Media Contact and Writer: Austin Arceo, assistant director of media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or

Story Highlights

American School & University, an organization for education facilities and business professionals, named renovations to Pickerl Hall and the Bayh College of Education as among the best in the nation in its 2011 Architectural Portfolio.

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