Coming in 2021: JSU's New Merrill Hall
Jacksonville State University is looking forward to opening its new business building, Merrill Hall, in 2021 – replacing the 48-year-old facility destroyed by an EF-3 tornado on March 19, 2018. Construction has passed the midway point on the state-of-the-art facility and is expected to be completed by August 2021.
Located on the site of its predecessor, the new Merrill Hall was designed as a modern version of the historic campus icon. The 105,000-square-foot building will feature a 300-seat auditorium, three-story atrium and common space, 12 academic classrooms, a Finance Lab, an in-house Career Development Center, job interview rooms, team working areas for group projects, faculty and staff offices and a Dean’s Suite. Plans are also in the works to create a coffee shop on the first floor to provide internships and job opportunities for students.
Once completed, Merrill Hall will once again serve as home to the JSU School of Business and Industry, which has been operating on the former site of Jacksonville’s elementary school, Kitty Stone Elementary, since the 2018 storm.
Since construction began in January 2020, workers have demolished the former structures and foundations, excavated the site, installed underground utilities, poured reinforced concrete footings and foundation walls, waterproofed, backfilled previously excavated earth, constructed stair and elevator towers with reinforced concrete, installed floor decking and poured concrete floor structures, and erected steel columns, girders and beams.
With the structural frame completed, workers are now installing exterior wall sheathing and finishes, installing interior finishes, framing and installing windows, roofing, and installing building systems including HVAC, electrical, plumbing. Construction is on schedule, despite commencing during a global pandemic.
Once completed, Merrill Hall will once again serve as home to the JSU School of Business and Industry, which has been operating on the former site of Jacksonville’s elementary school, Kitty Stone Elementary, since the 2018 storm. Already owned by the university, the vacant property was converted into a suitable short-term home for the school until Merrill Hall could be rebuilt.
“We’re very excited about moving into the new building this summer,” said Dean Steven McClung. “We believe it will give our students access to the latest technology and facilities, providing an education that will make them extremely competitive in their fields. We believe that the facility will benefit all of our students in Applied Engineering, Business and Communication.”
Opened in 1970, Merrill Hall was named in honor of Rep. Hugh D. Merrill of Anniston, who was instrumental in helping change the status of JSU from a teachers’ college to a state college and ultimately to a respected university. He also served as president pro tempore of the Board of Trustees for the university for 12 years, 1968 until 1980.
The rear facade of the new Merrill Hall. (Matt Reynolds/JSU)
JSU's School of Business & Industry
The JSU School of Business and Industry houses the departments of Applied Engineering, Communication, Management and Marketing, and Finance, Economics and Accounting. It is also home to the Small Business Development Center, the Center for Economic Development and the Center for Economic Education. The school is accredited by AACSB International and offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees, including a top ranked online MBA.
Construction Project Team
General Contractor: Doster Construction (Birmingham)
Construction Manager: Turner Construction (Huntsville)
Program Manager/Owner’s Representative: Brailsford & Dunlavey (Atlanta)
Architect of Record: Davis Architects (Birmingham)
Design Architect: Robert A.M. Stern Architects (New York City)
Major Subcontractors: Concrete, MSE Building Company (Birmingham); Steel, Daniel Iron (Birmingham)
Progress, Through Imagery
Construction Progress Photos (Matt Reynolds/JSU)
Construction Time Lapse Video (courtesy, Doster Construction)
Drone Video (courtesy, Doster Construction)
Architectural Renderings (courtesy, Davis Architects)