When planning the Olin Engineering Center, Marquette University faced several obstacles: a lack of space next to Haggerty Hall, a recently completed mall area to the east of Haggerty Hall, and the presence of many underground utility lines at the site finally selected. The solution was to build a structure over the mall creating a covered walkway area connecting the north and south areas of campus. The structure is held up by ten columns that were auger-cast to prevent the cost of moving existing utility lines. The building appears to float above the mall and bridges connect it to other engineering activities in Haggerty Hall.
Named for the Olin Foundation, which made a generous gift to Marquette University enabling the construction of the new engineering building. Founded by Franklin W. Olin, a chemical manufacturer in Alton, Illinois, the Olin Foundation's purpose was to fund innovation in higher education. The Foundation closed in 2005 after a five year phaseout plan.
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