Jacksonville State University/Matt Reynolds
merrill hall

New business school building at Jacksonville State University will replace facility destroyed in 2018 tornado

Jan. 11, 2021
The 105,000-square-foot Merrill Hall, under construction on the Jacksonville, Ala., campus, is set to open in August.

Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Ala., is constructing a new business building to replace a 48-year-old facility destroyed in a March 2018 tornado.

The university says in a news release that the new Merrill Hall is being built on the site of the old Merrill Hall and is scheduled to be completed in August.

The new facility was designed to be a modern version of the destroyed campus icon, which opened in 1970.

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.

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.

When it is completed, Merrill Hall will once again serve as home to the university's School of Business and Industry. Since the storm, the business school has been housed in the former Kitty Stone Elementary in Jacksonville.

“We’re very excited about moving into the new building this summer,” says 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.”

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