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The UAB School of Optometry’s ground through fifth floor renovations received a 2022 People’s Choice Award from Birmingham’s American Institute of Architecture. Managed by the architecture firm Birchfield Penuel & Associates (BPA), the renovations began in 2018 and the latest phase was completed in December 2021.

“These needed updates to our building have translated into light, open, and useful spaces that have improved the learning and patient care experiences that happen here,” said Kelly Nichols, UAB School of Optometry dean. “Birchfield Penuel & Associates has been with us every step of the way, listening to our needs and creating spaces that will be useful for years to come.”

Phase 1 of the project started with a full renovation of the Henry Peters Building’s second and third floors where student learning and pre-clinical activities occur. BPA provided a rejuvenated environment on these floors – matching the School’s commitment to enhance student experiences and provide necessary infrastructural updates. Third floor updates included a combination of instruction and student support spaces. ​​​​​​​​

On the ground floor, during Phase 2 of the renovations, the new optical was designed to streamline the process of selecting and fitting the correct optics for patients who visit the School’s UAB Eye Care clinic. From the “triage” pods in the check-in area to the final fitting of the perfect frames, the new optical showcases an extremely popular and needed aspect of the clinic. The first impression and functionality of the renovated space are important for patients. The design also needed to provide a real-life experience for optometry students.​​​​​​​​

“A design goal was to open views into adjacent spaces wherever possible to encourage interaction and enhance the student experience,” BPA project designer Wallace Williams said.  “Also, providing a lighting and sound control scheme that reflects a trendy ‘boutique’ atmosphere while expertly addressing the needs of the patients and students was important.”

The School of Optometry congratulates and thanks our renovation partners, BPA.