Classroom side of McNeil Hall. Image courtesy of Kayl Peck.

McNeil Hall: Mines’ First Parking Garage & a New Academic Building

In the last few years, it was often hard to find a place to park on campus. Not only is the student body increasing in number but starting this year freshmen were also able to purchase parking passes, and Mines has projects planned that will reduce their number of parking spaces elsewhere. In response to this, Mines has constructed a new parking garage. This new parking garage adds 600 new spaces, addressing the lack of available parking.

Along with it, on the side of the garage facing the Mines campus, a new academic building has also been added. McNeil Hall, named in honor of alumnus and trustee Charles “Charlie” McNeil ’71 and his wife, Judy McNeil, is planned to mainly be used by the Engineering, Design & Society department. It will be the new home for Cornerstone and Capstone design, a newer space for collaboration than the engineering annex.

As with other construction projects on campus, it wasn’t quite finished on time, likely due to COVID-19 and other complications. Classes first started being held there mid-September, with professors holding class in other classrooms on campus or online until then.

The classrooms are designed to be effective collaboration spaces, with 6 display screens per room, walls you can write on, and a modern aesthetic, flexible in both furniture height and location. One of the professors using this new space, Carrie McClelland with the EDNS department, is excited about its possibilities: “McNeil is a fantastic space for learning in and collaborating. I see it being a lively hub of student activity in the future, where teams of students meet for classes, innovation challenges, and creative pursuits.” The classrooms have a bit more space than the ones in the annex, which is appreciated especially in times like these. Although it only appears to have a few classrooms per floor, they have large windows that overlook downtown golden & the rest of the Mines campus. And, that is more classrooms than the engineering annex has, which is more suited to be an office space.

There are a few drawbacks, construction is still being finished up so finding the proper building entrance can be confusing. And for now, you’re subject to potential interruptions- like in the middle of class, some very loud drilling will start on the outside wall of your classroom. But in the future, it has the potential to be a new place for collaboration, and a nice new set of classrooms.

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