(L-R): Mike Battoclette, Dan DeLawder, Linda Reed, Renee Middleton, Melissa Abban, Roderick J. McDavis, Pam Benoit, Bryan Benchoff, Lynnette Clouse and James Smith break ground for renovations at McCracken Hall on May 7, 2015

Photographer: Ben Siegel


Renee Middleton, dean of the Patton College, explains how the renovation of McCracken came to realization

Photographer: Ben Siegel


President Roderick J. McDavis speaks to the crowd during the May 7 groundbreaking

Photographer: Ben Siegel

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Patton College of Education breaks ground on $32.8 million McCracken Hall renovation

New building will house all five departments under one roof

The Ohio University’s Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education celebrated the beginning of a new era by hosting a groundbreaking ceremony for a $32.8 million renovation and expansion project of McCracken Hall on Thursday, May 7.

This will be the first major renovation of the building that was built in 1959. The new building will house all five of the college’s departments under one roof, add a fourth floor and approximately 40,000 additional square feet.

The renovation was made possible in part through OHIO alumna Violet L. Patton's generous financial commitment to the College in 2010. Construction is scheduled to begin this month and be completed by January 2017.

During the renovation, Patton College's operations will move to both Tupper and Lindley halls. Lindley will be used for faculty and staff offices, while Tupper will serve as classroom space.

The one-hour ceremony was held on a sunny day in front of a crowd of more than 100 people. The featured speakers were President Roderick J. McDavis, Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit, The Patton College Dean Renée A. Middleton, Vice President for University Advancement J. Bryan Benchoff, The Patton College Dean’s Circle of Engagement Chair Linda Reed, Senior Project Manager in Design and Construction Lynnette Clouse and Park National Bank Chairman Dan DeLawder.

"Our students will have new classrooms, project rooms, state-of-the-art technology, a living green roof and a student lounge among other additions," Benoit said. "The renovation will modernize the McCracken experience while providing opportunities for scholarship and helping students achieve academic success. The U.S. News and World Report ranked The Patton College among the top 6 percent of education colleges nationwide."

President McDavis talked about his longtime connection to McCracken Hall. He drew laughs that McCracken Hall was almost brand new when he was an education student there in the 1960s.

"I, like Violet Patton, came from a family of educators; my parents, Joe and Mabel, taught in the Dayton Public School system and I have worked in higher education for the last 40 years," McDavis said. "It all started in this building, so as you can imagine, I have a very personal connection to McCracken Hall. Some of my fondest memories were ones I spent with my fellow classmates in McCracken."  

McDavis told the audience that "for more than a half century, McCracken Hall has produced some of the finest educators and human service professionals in this state and in this world."

"I look forward to the next chapter of this building's wonderful story, and I am confident that The Patton College pedigree will only improve over the next half century and beyond," McDavis said. Middleton, who McDavis praised for being consistent and persistent about the need to renovate McCracken Hall, couldn't hide her enthusiasm when she stepped to the microphone.

"This is for all of us," Middleton said. "It is an honor to have our college named after Gladys and David Patton and I'm very proud to have collaborated with Dr. Violet Patton to see her wish to renovate McCracken come to fruition."

Middleton added that she believes the design of the new McCracken Hall will make it the "best looking building on campus."

"McCracken has stood the test of time and we owe it to her to give her a facelift that is worthy of his name, Thomas P. McCracken," Middleton concluded.

Clouse took time during her speech to recognize the many people who worked on the planning of the new building and she also highlighted some of its outstanding attributes.

"This building will be fully accessible, have the latest classroom technology and be a very green building," Clouse said. "It will be a LEED Silver building. We will have an innovative way to capture storm water runoff, improve water efficiency, maximize energy performance, reuse 90 percent of building, material selection will be either renewable or recycled content, it will have a green roof, green cleaning and special recycling procedures."

DeLawder, an alumnus and former chairman of the OHIO Board of Trustees, said he has some fond memories of McCracken Hall.

"I attribute my success to the education I received here at Ohio University, specifically to the College of Education," DeLawder said. "What a great day this is for us to be able to celebrate the commencement of a project that is long overdue."

Early childhood education major Sarah Nestor commented on the new McCracken Hall project.

"Do you believe that teachers are critical to positively shaping young lives and society as a whole? I do," she said. "It is only fitting to have a learning environment that reflects that importance."

Benchoff talked about the importance of the education that will go on inside the new building and the opportunity for people to become involved in the renovation by donating money.

"It's easy to focus on the money, but I would suggest that it is not only about what happens physically to the building, but also about what happens inside the building." Benchoff said. "It will be about the academic excellence, innovation and creativity. That's what it's really all about."

Benchoff told the audience that for as little as $25,000, donors can name a room after themselves, a child, a parent, or anyone else they wish to honor.

"While some of our rooms are already spoken for, such as the Park National Bank Faculty Lyceum thanks to the generosity of our platform partner Dan Delawder, many of our classrooms, labs, and other areas of the building are still available," Benchoff said.

For $300, donors can have their name placed on one of the bricks that will make up the plaza on the south side of McCracken. They can also purchase a legacy leaf for between $500 and $2,500 that will hang on a tree inside the new building. For more information about giving to Patton College, visit

The event ended with a ceremonial groundbreaking to signal the start of construction.

The Patton College of Education was founded in 1886 and served as the first state-supported teacher preparation program in the state. In 2010, Violet L. Patton supported the college with a $28 million gift made in honor of her parents, Gladys and David.

The Patton College of Education now boasts five departments: Counseling and Higher Education, Human and Consumer Science Education, Educational Studies, Recreation and Sport Pedagogy, and Teacher Education.

To read more about the new McCracken Hall project, visit

To read more about the Patton family legacy, visit