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/ NDNU Ralston Hall Historic Renovation

Ralston Hall is the historic mansion and former home of William Chapman Ralston located in the heart of the Notre Dame de Namur University (NDNU) campus in Belmont, California. The mansion has accumulated 162 years of history, starting from a simple two-story Italian Villa- style house constructed circa 1853.

In its lengthy history with NDNU, Ralston Hall has served as a school, resident hall, and administrative hub and has a variety of public and private social events. The mansion was registered as a National Historic Landmark in 1966 and a California Historical landmark in 1972. However, in 2012, Ralston Hall was closed and evacuated due to seismic safety concerns. NDNU’s goal is to restore Ralston Hall in order to functionally utilize the space as well as feature its wonderful historic aspects.

The University engaged Ratcliff and its team to provide a seismic upgrade to the structure while preserving the sensitive historic fabric and nature of the building and providing improvements to the building to accommodate the desired program. As part of this process, the goal will be to restore the building’s historical elements, with a priority focus on the entertainment spaces on the ground floor.

In addition, as part of the interior improvements, NDNU will restore the building to its full functional use. The first floor, featuring the Ballroom, the Ralston Parlor and the Dining Room, will be used to host public and private events such as weddings, music concerts, campus receptions and etc. The second floor and third floors, previously used as the University’s administrative office and conferencing space, will continue to serve this purpose. The fourth floor which was previously unoccupied and partially unfinished will receive structural upgrades for the voluntary seismic upgrades and utilities preparation for a future TI by the school.


Belmont, CA


49,750 SF


  • Design Bid Build


  • Architecture
  • Planning