Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Hamel Rec Center construction

It seems as though one can't go anywhere on campus without running into construction. Every morning, crews of electricians, plumbers and other tradesmen arrive in Durham ready to continue work on the many large-scale projects the university has underway.

Earlier this year, construction began on several campus icons, such as the beloved Holloway Commons dining hall. Here’s a look at the current projects and where they stand in terms of completion.


Hamilton Smith Hall   

Hamilton Smith construction

Estimated Date of Completion: Fall 2017

Hamilton Smith Hall, one of UNH’s oldest and most prominent buildings, was first used as the library during the university’s early days. Today, it is home to the English department and houses the most classroom seats on campus.

The project will add even more seats in new high-tech classrooms as well as informal areas for students to meet and study. Additionally, a new pedestrian walkway and footbridge will be added to link the building to Dimond Library, Thompson Hall and the Memorial Union Building.  The reconstruction also will address heating, plumbing and accessibility issues in the 108-year-old building.

“What about the columns?” you ask? Not to worry — Ham Smith’s iconic columns and WPA-era murals will be restored and preserved as part of the work.

The project is due to be completed in the fall of 2017. The building will remain in use through the 2015 fall semester, after which classes will be held elsewhere until the construction is finished.

Destination Ham Smith (article) 


Hamel Recreation Center

Hamel Rec Center construction

Estimated Date of Completion: December 2017

The Hamel Recreation Center, open to the entire campus community, is housed in the Whittemore Center Arena. Though state-of-the-art, the gym has become too small for the growing UNH student population and therefore will be expanded during the next two years.

Plans call for increased fitness space as well as a new 1/10 mile suspended track. Two new multi-activity courts will also be added along with a wellness space, an instructional kitchen and new social and gathering areas for students.

The project is due to be completed in the winter of 2017.

More information


Holloway Commons 

Holloway Commons under construction

Estimated Date of Completion: February 2016

During the course of the 2015-2016 term, Holloway Commons, affectionately known as HoCo, will be receiving a much-needed makeover. HoCo is the largest dining hall on campus, but even so, students sometimes have to search for an empty table.

The expansion will add 350 seats to the dining hall, allowing students to breathe easily knowing they won’t have to skip out on always-popular theme dinners due to lack of seating.

The project began at the end of the 2015 spring semester and has already completed several stages. Students returned to school this fall to find the dining hall was much easier to navigate, with new pathways opened up for optimal traffic flow. The Dunkin Donuts located in the HoCo lobby was also moved, albeit only slightly. Additional lockers and backpack storage have also been put in place.

The HoCo expansion is moving along smoothly and is due to be completed in February 2016.

More information


Cowell Stadium

Cowell Stadium seating construction

Estimated Date of Completion: Fall 2016

The project taking place at Cowell Stadium, home to UNH football and other varsity teams, is hard to miss with its giant steel beams rising high into the sky. The beams are the framework of the new, highly anticipated athletic complex.

The stadium will include more seating (for a total of 10,000 -12,000 seats), more bathrooms, new concessions stands, a club lounge, a stadium-style press box and other amenities. Lights were installed during the summer of 2014 to allow for nighttime play.

Due to be completed in time for the fall 2016 football home opener against Holy Cross, the stadium will also host community events such as the New Hampshire Special Olympics, concerts and high school championship games.

Stadium project updates
Stadium FAQs
Stadium renderings


Jody Record ’95 | Communications and Public Affairs | jody.record@unh.edu