Sweeney Hall

The Chemical and Biological Engineering Department is housed in Sweeney Hall.

Building History

Built: 1927, 1938, 1962-64; architect, Proudfoot Bird & Souers
1931, A.H.Kimball
1962, Brooks, Borg

Beginning with the south section, a two-storied concrete and steel structure with a red brick and white trim exterior, the Chemical Engineering Building was constructed in several stages over a period of 35 years.

Originally, the building was designed primarily as a research facility. Research and teaching focused on the area of agricultural waste utilization. Thus, the second floor was a balcony around an open center, which was to be used for storing tall equipment for pilot plant work.

Another unusual feature was a firehouse-type brass pole that allowed quick access to the first floor from the balcony. Even the floors were functional, slanted to ensure proper drainage toward floor drains.

A surge in student enrollment in early 1930 led to the need for more classroom and office facilities. In 1931, construction began on a new wing to the north of the building. This one-story addition would house a general lab, a research lab, three offices, and a classroom.

The third addition to the building was completed in 1964, when the entire structure was formally renamed as Sweeney Hall in honor of Orland Russell Sweeney, who held nearly 300 patents during his 28-year association with the department.

In 1994, Sweeney Hall was refurbished once again with an $8 million addition, supported by alumni, corporate, and state legislature funding. The newest construction created several teaching labs with improved safety capabilities and environmental control equipment.