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Founders Hall and improved Denny Yard to replace Mackenzie Hall

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Founders Hall, set to open in 2022, is a massive constuction project in the middle of campus.

Mackenzie Hall has stood on the east end of Denny Yard since 1960, and in recent years, the building has stood out from the rest of its sister buildings within the Foster School of Business. The other four buildings — PACCAR Hall, Dempsey Hall, Bank of America Executive Center, and the Foster Business Library — all stand on modern foundations, and are clad in brick and steel exteriors.

Founders Hall, which has been in planning since at least February of last year, is the proposed replacement for Mackenzie Hall. The building is set to improve upon nearly every aspect of its predecessor. 

Cross-laminated timber (CLT), which is being used for Founders Hall, is an advanced, engineered wood made from layers of pressed lumber that can be premade into any imaginable shape. Not only is it structurally stronger than steel and concrete, it’s also more environmentally friendly.

Michelle Griffin, the assistant dean for finance and facilities at the Foster School, said this was a conscious decision, made with UW’s Climate Action Plan in mind, when designing the new building.

“The climate action plan has a goal to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions for the campus by 15% below 2005 levels,” she said. “UW Founders Hall has taken a big step to reduce emissions by planning on avoiding burning fuels on-site or using campus steam.”

The building is planned to have a shared exterior palette to blend with the other buildings that make up the Foster School. The inside will feature CLT as its main material in hopes of creating a unique and warm interior.

As a part of the Foster School, Founders Hall will house the undergraduate, masters, and Ph.D. program offices; some administration; other program offices; and classroom setups that are supposed to be dynamic and interactive, Griffin said.

The demolition of Mackenzie Hall started in July and was completed by the end of September. Ross Pouley, the project head, has said they’re currently working on site excavation and plan to have the whole project completed by the end of the next calendar year.

According to Pouley, the project has an approved budget of $75.1 million and should be fully operational by the start of 2022.

Founders Hall was “named for the generous private gifts of its founders,” Pouley said.

The completely donor-funded project also includes a slight remodel of the adjacent sections of Denny Yard.

The idea behind the landscape for the project site, according to Griffin, has two main features: honoring the heritage landform and hill on which Denny Hall sits, and linking the Central Campus to the newer, North Campus housing with a proposed forest promenade along Chelan Lane, just south of the project site.

“The project is intended to promote a landscape design  that complements the structural system of the building through the planting of native trees that support the local timber industry,” Griffin said.

The promenade is planned to stretch from the new District Market location on North Campus along Chelan Lane through Denny Yard. Other native and sustainable northwest varieties of plants are expected to accompany new Douglas firs and western red cedars.

The entire project is currently underway; construction and increased traffic along East Stevens Way are expected until the completion of the project.

Up-to-date information on the construction of Founders Hall can be found on Foster’s blog.

Reach reporter Joseph Claypoole at Twitter: @9_3quarters

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