WAUKESHA, Wis. – Carroll University’s Rankin Hall recently received the George Gunn Award for Excellence in Architectural Preservation and Historic Restoration. The City of Waukesha Landmarks Commission bestowed the award following the completion of the BWBR-designed restoration.
The 26,500-square-foot Rankin Hall renovation concludes the third phase in Carroll University’s strategic plan to update and improve academic spaces for the next generation of students.
A cherished symbol of academic and community heritage on campus, Rankin Hall was built in 1906 and is listed on both the National Register of Historic Places and the Wisconsin Register of Historic Places. The hall is one of four historic buildings on campus located in a National Historic District. It is also designated as a City of Waukesha Landmark.
Rankin is the second Carroll building to receive the Gunn Award. Named after late architect George Gunn, AIA, the award highlights organizations and individuals whose preservation and restoration efforts successfully contribute to maintaining Waukesha’s historical integrity.
To comply with federal historical preservation guidelines, much of the building’s exterior remained unchanged. Key historic elements were restored, including the existing historic wood windows and a new clay tile roof that recreates the building’s original roof. The original limestone façade was gently cleaned. The addition of an interior elevator and entrance ramp makes the facility accessible to all users for the first time in the building’s history.
The interior renovation harmonizes modern learning strategies with existing design elements. Reconfigured classrooms with integrated technology, new collaborative study spaces that encourage informal learning, and updated faculty offices blend state-of-the-art design within a traditional setting.
“Carroll University is a great example of reverence for the past with attention to where the future lays,” said Tom Hanley, AIA, LEED AP, principal and architect at BWBR. “Rankin Hall’s restoration makes the past relevant to the modern user, reflecting Carroll’s dedication to academic excellence in experiential learning environments. It’s a wonderful demonstration in how contemporary design can live within historic preservation.”
Carroll University is currently pursuing LEED v4 BD+C Major Renovation certification for Rankin Hall following last year’s LEED Silver certification of Hastad Hall, the first building on Carroll’s campus to receive a LEED certification.