Jabs Hall – MSU College of Business

Awards: 2016 Montana American Institute of Architects (AIA) award for Design Excellence; 2016 ACEC Montana Engineering Excellence Award; 2015 LEED Gold Building U.S. Green Building Council; 2015 Montana Sustainability Award; 2015 ENR Mountain States Best Project Award

In 2011, Montana State University received a $25 million donation from alumnus Jake Jabs to transform its business school into one of the top programs in the country. As a result, the university determined that the first step was to create a new academic building that provides state-of-the-art teaching facilities, meeting areas, learning centers, smart flexibility, and social gathering spaces. Comma-Q Architecture, in association with Hennebery Eddy Architecture, hired Morrison-Maierle for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing, civil and structural engineering services.

Jabs Hall sought out to, and succeeded in, setting a new bar for an energy efficient building system. At the start of the design phase, the team, in collaboration with the owner, developed four guiding principles to ensure that the project achieved Jabs’ vision. From the first meeting to the ribbon cutting, every decision on this project met at least two of these principles.

From an engineering standpoint, Jabs Hall is a hallmark project in terms of energy efficiency and falls in line with MSU’s continued commitment to sustainability. For example, this building uses two separate rain screen systems, a geothermal field bigger than one ever installed in the Montana University system, strategic use of glass and day lighting and numerous efficient mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) systems. As a result, the team achieved an energy use intensity (EUI) rating of 45.5 kBtu/sqft/yr, a rating that shows Jabs Hall is twice as efficient as similar buildings around the country. The new building has achieved LEED Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The approach the team took on this project led to conscientious, careful design and energy-efficient considerations for this four-story, 55,000-square-foot structure. The building opened for operation in March 2015.