Replacing UCC’s Snyder Hall: ‘Light to real tragedy’

Demolition of Snyder Hall will begin in October

New designs for Snyder Hall on the campus of Umpqua Community College by Mahlum Architects of Portland, September 2016 (KOIN)
New designs for Snyder Hall on the campus of Umpqua Community College by Mahlum Architects of Portland, September 2016 (KOIN)

ROSEBURG, Ore. (KOIN) — Snyder Hall, the Umpqua Community College building where a gunman killed 9 and wounded 8 others before killing himself, is set to be demolished soon.

UCC closed the classroom building after the Oct. 1, 2015 rampage. A committee of students, teachers and administrators voted that Snyder Hall should be demolished and rebuilt with a new design.

Oregon legislators OK’d $6 million to replace Snyder Hall and improve security across campus. The rebuild is estimated at $4.2 million.

“We’ve decided to do this reconstruction to both remember, keep the same name, but also to be able to make this building a very functional building,” said UCC’s Ann Marie Levis.

The committee reached out to LeRoy Landers with Mahlum Architects, Inc. to come up with a new design for a building that will keep the same name.

“Our job is to be sensitive to all the different concerns as best we can,” Landers told KOIN 6 News.

LeRoy Landers, the principal architect for Mahlum Architects, Inc, the firm designing the new Snyder Hall on the campus of Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, September 2016 (KOIN)
LeRoy Landers, the principal architect for Mahlum Architects, Inc, the firm designing the new Snyder Hall on the campus of Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, September 2016 (KOIN)

He said this is a wonderful opportunity to help UCC and the community of Roseburg work through recovery, being sensitive to what they want as well as considering both functional and aspirational goals for the new design.

“Replacing Snyder Hall really made the best sense from the standpoint of the bigger picture of their community,” Landers said. UCC’s objective “is to do whatever they can do to help the community heal but to also make sure this replacement facility will do everything it can to forward the success of their students.”

New designs in place for Snyder Hall on the campus of Umpqua Community College, September 2016 (KOIN)
New designs in place for Snyder Hall on the campus of Umpqua Community College, September 2016 (KOIN)

The design of the building — about the same size of Snyder Hall — is very important and in the early design phase Landers said they are focusing on “creating more student-centric spaces or spaces that will allow students within, inside the building to interact, both with each other socially and to work together in groups.”

There will be more lighting, additional security personnel, a PA system for announcements among the improvements, Levis told KOIN 6 News.

New designs in place for Snyder Hall on the campus of Umpqua Community College, September 2016 (KOIN)
New designs in place for Snyder Hall on the campus of Umpqua Community College, September 2016 (KOIN)

Landers also said defensible space strategies and visual control are part of the design consideration. “Another characteristic would be creating spaces that have different ways of egressing, being able to get in and out of the building and having more than one option for that, so those types of things.”

The new Snyder Hall will include a reflective garden.

“I think we’re hoping it’s just a nice, quiet place for students as they’re stressed out from class,” Levis said. “It’s not our memorial. It’s just a part of the new design of Snyder.”

The demolition is slated to begin October 17 and “we hope to have this open next fall,” Levis said. Landers said it may be January 2018.

“My hopes would be that everyone, really as they come to the facility, really realizes that the replacement of Snyder Hall is something that hopefully brings a little bit of light perhaps to an event that was a real tragedy clearly for the community and Umpqua Community College,” Landers told KOIN 6 News.

“I think it’s really an honor more than anything to be able to participate in this.”

Snyder Hall on the campus of Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, July 2016 (KOIN)
Snyder Hall on the campus of Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, July 2016 (KOIN)