McCardell Bicentennial Hall: 6:45am - 12am

General Facts

  • Architects: Payette and Associates, Inc., Boston, MA
  • Engineers: R. G. Vanderweil, Boston, MA
  • Builder: Barr and Barr, Inc., Framingham, MA
  • Size: 118,500 net square feet of program space; 226,600 gross square feet
  • Cost: $38.6 million building construction cost; $47.3 million total project cost
  • Time frame: Occupied in September 1999—total time from planning to occupancy was 10 years (including design phase of 1.5 years and construction phase of 26 months)


125,000 board feet of sustainably-harvested timber, 2/3 of which is from small Vermont family woodlots; primarily red oak, but also sugar- and red maple, beech, birch, ash, and cherry (each floor on each wing, and each lecture hall, has a single type of wood).


More than 90 faculty and staff from 6 academic departments (Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Geography, Earth and Climate Sciences, Physics, and Psychology); 3 programs (Environmental Studies, Neuroscience, and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry); Sciences Technical Support Services staff; and the Armstrong Library.

Design and Features

The building’s design incorporates a number of innovative features. Three generic laboratories have movable tables that can be freely rearranged, and an additional four generic labs can be reconfigured each term so as to meet the particular needs of the classes meeting in each space, thereby maximizing the efficient use of the building. Study lounges with bench seating and worktables are clustered at the end of each wing and are used for lab breakout sessions, small group meetings, and individual study. Informal learning spaces, equipped with chalkboards, tables, and comfortable chairs, are located on the east and west sides of the Tormondsen Great Hall and foster collaborative study, bull sessions, and conversations among students and faculty. The Tormondsen Great Hall itself, with its five-story-high atrium and window walls, serves as the building’s “town square,” visibly linking the various floors to create a more intimate atmosphere and encouraging collegial interactions among the various departments.


In keeping with Middlebury College’s long-standing commitment to the environment, McCardell Bicentennial Hall incorporates a number of green building features.

Most evident to visitors is the architectural millwork, which is made from certified, sustainably-harvested timber, two-thirds of which is from small Vermont family woodlots. The lumber was milled to make maximum use of each log, which means that many so-called “defects” such as unusual grain patterns, knots, and the like—which actually add character to the wood—are on display. The floors in the corridor are finished with linoleum (made from vegetable oil) rather than sheet vinyl. The gypsum wallboard is made partially from recycled material, and the roof deck is made from recycled plastic lumber.

Less obvious, but even more important, are energy-saving features such as a heat-recovery loop to extract winter warmth or summer cooling from the building air before it is exhausted to the outside; extensive use of natural lighting; motion detectors in every room to turn off the lights should the room become unoccupied; high-efficiency LED and fluorescent lighting; and triple-glazed high-E windows.

Wood in McCardell Bicentennial Hall

East and West Wings and Great Hall

  • All floors: Red Oak

South Wing

  • 5th floor: Birch    
  • 4th floor: Beech
  • 2nd floor: Red Oak

North Wing

  • 5th floor: Hard maple
  • 4th floor: Soft maple
  • 3rd floor: Cherry
  • 2nd floor: Hard maple
  • 1st floor: Soft maple