skip to main content

Smith Hall Renovation


Historical Renovation Project


Smith Hall is a 14,000 sf, 3-story unreinforced masonry (URM) Neoclassical building used for administrative and classroom uses for Chapman University.  The building was originally built in 1913 for Orange Unified School District then purchased by Chapman University in 1954.  In 1975, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Our project was to preserve the historically contributing portions of the building while providing a complete seismic retrofit as well as completely new electrical, data, and mechanical systems.  Additionally, the entire building was made ADA accessible which required the installation of an elevator.

The seismic retrofit consisted of anchoring the floors and roof structure to the exterior URM walls, installation of interior plywood shear walls and collector elements and strengthening of the floor and roof diaphragms.

The university consulted the Historic Resources Group (HRG) from Pasadena to research the building and identify the historically significant components.  They were on hand to review “found” elements during construction.

Chapman University, the design team of ABS Consulting, DCGA Engineering, HRG and ADAY Architects, and the construction team of Grey Construction, allowed a truly collaborative effort in the restoration of this 107 year old building. The result was a building that not only preserved the historic elements of the original 1913 construction, but made it fully 21st century functional and seismically safe.