Howard Payne University Newbury Family Welcome Center

Brownwood, Texas


  • Education


  • mechanical / plumbing engineering
  • electrical engineering


  • 7,775 SF

BHB provided MEP engineering services for a new 7,775-square-foot visitor’s center at Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas. The single-story standalone building, named the Newbury Family Welcome Center, will serve as a “front door” to the university as the first stop for prospective students visiting campus. It will also house office space for admissions staff and space for meetings and events.

The building is located at the corner of Austin and Center Avenues near the former site of Old Main, the school’s original building that burned down in 1984, and is the first all-new construction project on the school’s campus in over two decades.

The welcome center is comprised of four semi-autonomous quadrants with a common central reception area with a tower. One quadrant serves as an exhibit hall with a high window-to-wall ratio to allow for tons of natural light. The other three quadrants include one for restrooms and a catering kitchen, one for presentation/meeting space, and one for admissions personnel office space.

Due to its large windows and open design, the exhibit hall quadrant has a much higher cooling load and is therefore conditioned using a built-up hydronic air handling unit in a mechanical room. The other quadrants are conditioned using hydronic fan coil units above the ceiling in various locations.

Because it was a new building with no electrical gear in place, BHB’s electrical engineers extended the existing medium voltage campus distribution system to a new pad-mounted transformer to serve the visitor’s center. The interior electrical work included a power distribution center and an aesthetically designed lighting system with a dimming capability in public areas meant to provide the university with flexibility in setting the mood for the space and accommodate audio-visual and other presentation requirements. In some spaces with a large number of windows, automatic dimming light fixtures were installed to meet energy code daylighting requirements.

A lot of coordination was required between mechanical and electrical engineers to house the equipment for both disciplines in limited shared spaces. The AHU in the small shared mechanical/electrical room required careful coordination between mechanical, electrical, and architectural disciplines for louver locations and paint specifications.

Key People

  • Ken Randall, PE, LEED AP

  • Saul Martinez, PE

  • Paul Morris, PE