Kricker Innovation Hub - Shawnee State University

Built in 1894, the Sanford, Varner & Co. factory building was a manufacturing hub in the heart of downtown Portsmouth for generations. Shawnee State University acquired the property, recently occupied as a beauty school, to create a center for local entrepreneur development and a showcase for state-of-the-art technology. The scope of work included extensive interior renovations, and modernization of the building envelope, and complete upgrade of building systems.

This historic building (1894) had been renovated multiple times for varied uses and was in disrepair with a failing roof and parapets. The majority of the fenestration had been filled in and modified over the years. A359 and our consultants studied the historic structure and facade to develop a plan to restore the primary openings, introduce proper storefront to the primary street facades, and repair the masonry structure and cast iron detailing. Historic details were uncovered during the construction phase and were incorporated into the design of the facade.

The renovated facility is designed to support high-tech innovation and collaboration for small business owners and entrepreneurs and features office space, conferencing, a lecture hall, technology lab, and collaborative work areas. A first floor cafe area and community space activates Chillicothe Street, opening up the facility for community engagement and gathering opportunities. This congregating space also acts as a connection point back to SSU's Main Campus which is visible from the storefont facade.


EDA Grant

Kricker Innovation Hub was funded in part with a $2.7 million EDA Grant to stimulate local job creation and entrepreneurship. The shared campus-community facility  serves as an outlet for student research and proof of concept development, as well as outreach programming such as small business workshops, coaching and commercialization. The Kricker Innovation Hub is expected to create 200 jobs, retain 40 jobs and spur $2 million in private investment

A359 was proud to support SSU throughout the grant administrative process. Our team coordinated design and construction  documentation, dispersement requests and critical documentation submissions.

A future phase of this project will outfit a soaring fourth floor space featuring the original wood beamed structure uncovered and preserved during this renovation.


Client Testimonial

“A359 has been an outstanding partner to work with on our landmark Kricker Innovation Hub project. We started with a tall order: Redevelop a 150-year-old building to include state of the art capabilities and cutting-edge technology, all while maintaining the historical integrity of its downtown location and a brand consistent with our adjacent campus. A359 has been first class all the way – their team delivers the professionalism and expertise of a big firm while remaining accessible, flexible, and personable. We are grateful for A359’s creativity, recognition of our needs and preferences, and sincere interest in the success of not only our building, but of our entire innovation hub program.”

Eric Braun, President - Shawnee State University