Interior view of the Mule Barn at Metropolitan Community College.
Exterior view of the Mule Barn located on the MCC campus

Mule Barn (Building 21) Renovation

Omaha, Nebraska

15,000 GSF

Alvine Engineering provided engineering systems design for the renovation of Building 21, the historic Mule Barn. The building was built in 1910 and originally used by the Army as a stable for mules that moved freight, supplies, and equipment.

Metropolitan Community College acquired the building in 1975 and used it for construction technology and auto body classes, which have since moved to other locations. The renovation began by gutting the interior of the building for the replacement of electrical, mechanical, and plumbing systems to meet code and modern demands. The Mule Barn is now a mixed-use facility with classrooms, offices, meeting areas, and a public lounge with an adjacent outdoor patio.


  • Gas-fired sequential boilers provide hot water to an air handling unit and to variable volume air terminal units for building heating. Terminal units were located in former loft spaces to maximize classroom ceiling heights.
  • Building cooling is provided using an air-cooled chiller located within an architectural enclosure near an adjacent parking area. Chilled water piping is routed underground to the building.
  • Classroom lighting consists of recessed indirect troffers in lay-in ceilings. Pendant direct/indirect fixtures were used in the public lobby and the circulation area outside the classrooms.
  • Occupancy sensors were provided for lighting control. Controls allow selected lights to be used for accenting the structure or lighting clerestory areas.
  • Fire protection is provided by a wet-pipe sprinkler system.
  • Emergency lighting in the path of egress and in selected areas was provided by battery packs installed in fluorescent fixtures. Additional emergency lighting was provided immediately outside of each designated exit door.

Photography credit: Kessler Photography

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