Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change

This space was created to house the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change – it was designed to create an uplifting space that could serve a dual purpose, both to provide a space to facilitate public education and also a space for student involvement in the various Hooks Institute programs. We at RKA Construction, strive to participate in projects that have a greater meaning in the community. The Hooks Institute for Social Change and their multiple programs, such as the Hooks African American Male Initiative (HAAMI) and A Seat at the Table (ASATT) meets those criteria. The HAAMI and ASATT support and prepare college students to graduate career ready and ready to make an impact in professions and their communities. This project was 100% funded by private donations from individuals who also believe in the importance of this organization in the greater Memphis community. It was an honor to work so closely with the Institute as well as the University of Memphis in order to provide a space to forward their work and initiatives of the programs.

RKA Construction worked closely with A2H (both the Architect and Engineer), the Hooks Institute representatives, as well as the University of Memphis to complete this historic project. Working in an older building on campus with systems and life safety components which all needed to be brought up to current standards proved to be a challenge. The building has been renovated and altered to accommodate a variety of end users throughout the life of the structure and many different entities have made modifications to accommodate their needs at that time. This included a raised floor system which provided the only access to the electrical and mechanical systems for the floor below. This also meant we had to access the systems for our floor from the live floor above. Although this did create some distinct adversities, we were able to navigate through the various entities needs and accommodate all end users in the building.

Project Notes


  • University of Memphis – Memphis, TN

Design Partners

Trade Partners

  • Performance Contacting
  • Painting Unlimited
  • Carpet Contractors
  • Altus Construction
  • Walker J. Walker
  • Downhome Stone
  • Cooper Glass
  • Tri-State Plumbing & Heating
  • Southern Steel & Concrete
  • River City Sprinkler