UAB held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new McMahon Residence Hall the morning of Wednesday, May 26. The 231,089-square-foot building is set to open in August of 2021 as the newest on-campus residence hall.
At the ceremony held at the building, several UAB officials and the buildings namesake John McMahon, Jr. spoke about the new residence hall and the honor of the naming.
The building’s namesake is trustee emeritus John McMahon, Jr., a prominent local businessman with the McWane, Inc. and Ligon Industries. McMahon is a graduate of Birmingham-Southern College and the University of Alabama. He has made a name for himself in Birmingham as a local philanthropist and donor to Republican politicians such as Jeff Sessions and Mitch McConnell.
“Trustee emeritus McMahon, thank you for being bold,” Allen Bolton, former Senior VP of Finance and Administration, said. “The imprint of your decisions have truly helped transform UAB in immeasurable ways, and for that reason, we’re so pleased to add the McMahon name to the footprint and the skyline of UAB. It is fitting and honorable badge to this campus.”
After the ceremony, attendees were able to take tours of the new building. The residence hall which forms a courtyard with Gold Hall is designed very similarly to that building.
“We met with a lot of students and focus groups and they were very happy with the set up in Gold Hall, so we in essence decided to replicate what we already had available had Gold Hall,” Executive Director of Student Housing and Dining Marc Booker said.
McMahon Hall comes with many amenities not found in other residence halls on campus. The building will be home to three dining locations: Moe’s Southwest Grill, Slice of Life – a Sodexo operated pizza restaurant – and a relocated Einstein Bros. Bagels. All of these locations will be accessible to residents and nonresidents and alike. Its ground floor also features a communal kitchen space.
The building was designed to maximize community spaces. Each floor feature gathering spaces, and the building wraps around an outside courtyard with ample seating options.
“We’ve tried very hard to incorporate as much outdoor space in an urban campus as possible,” Booker said.
The building is the first on UAB’s campus to be Gold LEED certified. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a widely recognized benchmark of energy conscious building design awarded by the US Green Building Council. McMahon Hall brings together a variety of components based around environmentalism and energy conversation including a large courtyard that incorporates indigenous plants and a rainwater collection system that irrigates the courtyard.
The construction of McMahon Hall faced many delays and setbacks. Geotechnical issues with the site plan, heavy rainfall in early 2020 and material delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the completion of residence hall well past its original schedule.
The $73 million building was designed by the firm Goodwyn Mills Cawood.