College of Arts and Science to renovate Garland Hall as part of significant infrastructure improvement

The College of Arts and Science will embark on a construction project later this summer to renovate and expand Garland Hall. The project aims to align the college’s facilities with its mission of teaching, research and service; create flexible, state-of-the-art space that meets current and future academic needs; and connect the historic core of campus to the university’s trans-institutional mission.  

“We are thrilled about the renovation and expansion of Garland Hall as part of our significant infrastructure improvement plan,” said Eric Kopstain, vice chancellor for administration. “Aligned with the goals of FutureVU, Garland’s transformative new design will provide facilities that meet the evolving and innovative needs of our One Vanderbilt campus.” 

Originally built in 1928, Garland Hall is long overdue for a major renovation and an innovative design that makes more efficient use of space. The building will undergo a complete interior renovation, and an addition will be built. The transformed building will house a mix of teaching, research, office and collaborative gathering spaces and will house various A&S departments and interdisciplinary centers. The building is designed to achieve a LEED gold certification when complete.  

“Because of its central location and aging infrastructure, Garland Hall is essential to our goal of creating space that is worthy of our world-class faculty, staff and students,” said John G. Geer, former dean of the College of Arts and Science. “The new building will enable us to deliver on our mission of excellence in teaching, pioneering research and valuable service to our community. It will also serve as an important trans-institutional hub connecting the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences across campus.”  

To map out the infrastructure project, the College of Arts and Science completed a comprehensive capital project planning study to develop, prioritize and implement strategies that align the historic core of campus to the college’s mission. Through open houses, focus groups and surveys, the college gathered data and worked with architecture firm Ayers Saint Gross using the results to develop plans that provide inclusive and welcoming space, additional collaborative and meeting space and improved classrooms and labs. 

Considering the trees 

From the beginning, A&S has worked closely with University Landscape Architect James Moore to ensure that the existing landscape was preserved to the greatest extent possible. As a result, some of the plans for Garland Hall were adjusted to work around existing trees and the location of the addition was shifted to minimize the impact on the campus arboretum. While some trees will have to be removed during construction, many of the trees’ lumber will be reused in future projects, and new trees will be planted. This aligns with the university’s larger effort to strategically and critically create designs that protect and/or replenish Vanderbilt’s trees.create designs that protect and/or replenish Vanderbilt’s trees. 

“The campus arboretum has been part of Vanderbilt’s core identity since its founding,” Moore said. “Today, we benefit from the many trees planted by past stewards of the university. With all our projects, we continue this tradition by preserving what we can and planting for the future. We have worked closely with the design team to ensure we are protecting the arboretum.”  

“These construction projects are far more than an aesthetic facelift,” said Timothy P. McNamara, interim dean of the College of Arts and Science. “They will allow us to engage across differences, support student success and, in short, foster even greater excellence. These buildings represent the future vision of an exceptional, inclusive, trans-institutional Vanderbilt education.”