Auburn began construction in April of this year for the new College of Education building on the corner of West Samford Avenue and Duncan Drive.
Formerly, the site was home to the Hill Residence Hall complex, which was fully demolished earlier this year.
The Haley Center currently houses many of the College of Education’s academic departments and advisors. Built over fifty years ago, the building has 142 classrooms and faculty offices, which are split between the Colleges of Education and Liberal Arts.
College of Education Dean and Wayne T. Smith Distinguished Professor Jeffrey Fairbrother said that the new location will connect the whole college.
“Our new building will be a hub of activity to bring students together, give them easy access to their classrooms and laboratories [and] provide a one-stop location for support services such as advising,” Fairbrother said.
The new building will consolidate most of the College of Education in a single location. The School of Kinesiology will remain housed in the Kinesiology building near the Auburn Recreation and Wellness Center.
Fourteen buildings comprised the Hill Residence Hall complex, which was built between 1962 and 1967. The Hill accommodated around 1,400 students and was the center of many Auburn Greek Life organizations.
The University determined that major renovations of the Hill Residence Hall complex were not cost effective, leading to their demolition. The Campus Master Plan, released in 2013, called for academic buildings to replace the complex. Demolition commenced in the spring of 2022 and was completed in the Summer of this year.
In the fall of 2022, Auburn reported 2,569 students enrolled in the College of Education, including undergraduate and graduate students. This is a 3.9% decrease in enrollment from the previous year.
The new building will occupy 167,000 square feet, or about two-fifths of the size of the Haley Center. Although scheduled for completion in early 2025, Fairbrother noted this may move in response to “change[s] throughout the construction process.”
To meet the changing demands of teacher education, the new building will have innovative classrooms, laboratories and research spaces.
“Our classes emphasize experiential learning,” Fairbrother said. “We will design the classrooms to accommodate that approach as much as we can.”
Fairbrother noted his anticipation on behalf of himself and the College of Education.
“It’s a significant time for all of us, and we’re looking forward to current, future and former students joining us on this journey,” Fairbrother said. “We are thrilled to have this opportunity to better serve our great students.”
Those interested can watch the construction process through a livestream provided by Auburn University Facilities Management. While excavators and a tower crane currently dominate the site, renderings from the College of Education show a promising future.
Fairbrother noted the growing enthusiasm around the construction.
“Right now, we are planning several fall events at the building site to connect students, faculty and staff, alumni and other members of the Auburn family with the construction progress and excitement around the new building,” Fairbrother said. “We will also continue making some important decisions, including how to best equip the interior to meet our needs.”