Maier Hall taking shape at Peninsula College (***GALLERY***)
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Peninsula College President Tom Keegan and construction project manager David Wegener stand on the mezzanine overlooking the lobby of 61,750-square-foot Maier Hall. The lobby is where the main doors to the building are located. -- Chris Tucker/Peninsula Daily News
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A construction worker is on the job inside the performance hall in Maier Hall last week. – Photo by Chris Tucker/Peninsula Daily News
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Peninsula College President Tom Keegan, left, and construction project manager David Wegener stand inside a room at the new Maier Hall. – Photo by Chris Tucker/Peninsula Daily News
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This open area with its three square water fountains is one of the views visible from the third floor of Maier Hall. The Science and Technology Building is in the background. -- Photo by Chris Tucker/Peninsula Daily News

By Paige Dickerson
Peninsula Daily News

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a major overhaul of buildings since 2004.

Funding for construction projects is given by the state Legislature.

The projects include:

• Student Services in 2004 -- 15,770 square feet, $2.7 million

• Lincoln Center in 2004 -- 5,037 square feet, $1 million

• Longhouse in 2007 -- 2,988 square feet, $850,000

• Science and Technology in 2007 -- 56,000 square feet, $23.6 million

• Little Theater renovation in 2007 -- 5,027 square feet, $427,700

• Library Resource Center in 2008 -- 26,680 square feet, $16 million

• Faculty Administration Building in 2008 -- 8,280 square feet, included in cost of the library

• Parking lot improvements in 2010 -- included in cost of Maier Hall

• Maier Hall in 2011-- 61,400 square feet, $31.9 million

• Sigmar Field in 2011 -- 69,300 square feet, $1.45 million

Peninsula Daily News
PORT ANGELES -- With the exterior of the massive 61,750-square-foot Maier Hall at Peninsula College taking shape, the inside is getting wired and put together.

The floors of the building are being laid, and electrical wiring is nearly finished.

The building is expected to be completed in early to mid-spring, said David Wegener, construction project manager for Peninsula College.

Peninsula College President Tom Keegan said the faculty will move into the building over the summer in time for fall quarter.

"It is on time and on budget," he said.

The building will house art, math, liberal arts and music programs -- as well as a 150-person performance hall, Keegan said.

State-of-the-art building

"We will have a state-of-the-art college building when this is finished," Keegan said.

The load-bearing beams were finished in June, and since then, brick, glass, drywall and other elements have gone up -- making the building look nearly completed.

The inside is full of masses of wires and concrete grinders. Details are not finished, but the classrooms have a clear shape and everything has its spot.

The performance hall is ready for the installation of seats and tunable acoustic panels.

A room next to the hall stands ready for a grand piano.

"The Peninsula College Foundation has started a fundraising drive to raise money to buy a new Steinway piano," Keegan said.

"Having this wonderful hall, we hope to have the best instruments, too."

A large, custom-built room furnished with 16 pottery wheels will have garage-like doors to bring in equipment and to take out larger pieces of art, Wegener said.

The room also has drains in the floors, making for an easier cleanup.

Maier Hall -- named for John Maier, the founding president of Peninsula College who served from 1961 to 1975 -- will replace Buildings F, G, H and I, which were built during Maier's presidency in the 1960s.

Built with trees in mind

The new Maier Hall building will be 36,104 square feet larger than the four buildings it replaces.

The building curves around a grove of trees with its back hugging the wetlands to the south of campus.

"The whole building works around those trees," Wegener said.

"If we were to cut those trees down, you would have a whole different shape of building."

The college worked to preserve as many trees as possible in the process, even moving the building a bit farther from the wetlands to better preserve the trees in that area, he said.

The first floor of the building will house the Student Learning Center with several computer labs for after-class studies and tutoring, the performance hall and the ceramics facilities.

Geothermal system

The second floor will be home to music classrooms, general classrooms, music practice rooms and art classrooms.

The halls of the second floor and the rooms in the art classrooms have been left intentionally open to create a gallery for student artwork, Keegan said.

The third floor will have faculty offices and more classrooms as well.

In addition to being built for function, the building was also built to be "green," Keegan said.

"This building's utilities will be extremely efficient," he said.

The building will use a geothermal system, which uses the warmth of the Earth to heat cisterns of water, which is then pumped through pipes in the building to warm it.

The second-floor overhang is covered by moss -- not because of the climate of the North Olympic Peninsula but as a way to filter rainwater as it runs off the building.

The Science and Technology Building also has a "green" roof, but it includes 16 inches of dirt whereas the moss roof is light and can easily be rolled off and back on should a leak spring.

"If you think about it, the Science and Technology Building was sort of the old technology for green roofs," Keegan said.

"This one is right on the cutting edge."

The moss, developed by Roy Hellwig of Sequim, the architect for the campus' Longhouse, is a new process for such a large building.

Draining into wetlands

All of the rainwater draining from the building will be filtered by natural materials and drained into the wetlands.

"We had many studies that said our wetlands weren't getting enough water," Wegener said.

"So by doing this, we'll be adding good water to the wetlands."

The building rests on a foundation built of recycled materials -- in fact about 95 percent of the four old buildings were either recycled into the foundation, given away or sent to a recycling center.

The construction team of Howard S. Wright is from the same company that built the Space Needle in 1962, and architect Walter Schacht of Schacht Aslani Architects in Seattle did the design.


Reporter Paige Dickerson can be reached at 360-417-3535 or at

Last modified: January 17. 2011 9:17PM
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