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Richard Bland College: Ernst Hall

Higher Education

Richard Bland College: Ernst Hall.

Petersburg, Virginia

Unused since 2010, Ernst Hall was constructed in 1967 as an academic building, housing classrooms, science labs, and offices. Until RRMM’s renovation, it had remained unchanged. The focus of the renovation was to provide flexible student learning spaces, including classrooms, seminar spaces, and student lounge/study spaces. A 225-seat lecture hall, which is the only auditorium space on campus, was renovated and expanded to support larger classrooms and special events. Restrooms were reconstructed to correct ADA deficiencies and sprinkler and fire alarm safety systems were added to the building. Two of the three entrances were also modified to meet ADA compliance. The renovated Ernst Hall will serve as an anchor to the west campus and assist in creating architectural cohesion as strategic and master planning commences. In order to address the school’s development needs, an aggressive fast track schedule was implemented. 

The redesigned academic spaces evolved as a result of an intensive programming exercise conducted on campus with faculty, staff, and the RRMM team. The innovative teaching philosophies proposed by RBC leadership led RRMM to design integrated technology and flexible learning spaces that promote more interaction between students and faculty. With RBC having a large population of commuter students, special attention was also paid to establishing student lounge and study spaces that were systemically integrated for students to use for a day on campus or between classes.