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Oakland University – Varner Hall Renovation and Addition

Helping better equip the University to create an environment where students of the arts can thrive

  • $32M

    Construction Value

  • 98K

    Square Feet

  • Rochester Hills, Michigan

    Rochester Hills, Michigan

Maximizing functionality on a limited budget

Recognizing the need to update Varner Hall with modern infrastructure and spaces better equipped for today’s music, theater and dance students, Oakland University (OU) selected Stantec to lead its design of a major renovation and addition.

Our team worked in tandem with OU to achieve a goal of improving student and public experience while replacing critical infrastructure at Varner, which was built in 1970 and is home to the University’s School of Music, Theater and Dance. Our team of planners, engineers and designers developed creative design interventions, making a significant impact to the functionality and public-facing spaces in an existing facility with a limited budget. This includes adding new lobbies to help clarify building circulation, address accessibility issues while also creating a new front door to the building. Major elements of the master plan included the Stantec-led investigation into the HVAC and other building systems. We soon developed options for the University to replace and update these systems within the existing building.

The impact these improvements will have on the school’s students and faculty, as well as those attending performances, will be realized in every area of the building, especially as it relates to air handling, lighting, and improved spaces.

At a Glance

Meet Our Team

Patrick Calhoun, Senior Associate, Senior Planner

In educational building design, you like hearing how your design positively impacts students. When you extrapolate out to future generations, that experience is both joyful and humbling.
Patrick Calhoun Senior Associate, Senior Planner Read More

Bill Chomic, Associate, Electrical Team Leader

We engineer energy efficient systems to support the building’s function while leaving a comfortable and safe environment.
Bill Chomic Associate, Electrical Team Leader Read More

Michael Decoster, Principal, Business Center Sector Leader

I play an integral role in developing business and leading projects for a variety of business sectors in the Detroit market.
Michael Decoster Principal, Business Center Sector Leader Read More

Beth Ahren, Senior Associate, Senior Project Manager

I’m excited about the future of senior care. The pandemic has shed light on essential improvements to better protect older family members.
Beth Ahren Senior Associate, Senior Project Manager Read More

Chris Mackey, Principal

I love the combination of art, science, and craft that goes into making good buildings. When a client says 'we decided' or 'we designed' at the end of a project, then we’ve done our job.

Adam O'Brien, Principal

As architects, we’re responsible for making the world better—the greatest reward is knowing your work directly benefits your neighbors.

Patrick Calhoun

Senior Associate, Senior Planner

Bill Chomic

Associate, Electrical Team Leader

Michael Decoster

Principal, Business Center Sector Leader

Beth Ahren

Senior Associate, Senior Project Manager

Chris Mackey


Adam O'Brien


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