Elliott Hall Has a New Look
April 06, 2010
Every three years a facility audit is completed at Mount Union College.
During the last audit, staff turned their attention towards the buildings where students spend the most time: their homes away from home. Some of the older residence structures are consistent with the rich tradition of the institution, but that doesn't mean that renovations aren't needed.
Currently, the audit has transformed into a project that will span through the summer of 2008. By that time, six residence halls on campus will have been renovated. These include Cunningham, McCready, Elliott, Ketcham, King and McMaster halls.
Elliott Hall was restored prior to the start of the 2007 spring semester. Built in 1914, the hall has undergone just one major renovation, and that was in the 1960s. In recent years it was discovered that this historic part of campus needed full attention. Blaine Lewis, Director of the Physical Plant at Mount Union, has been overseeing the residence hall renovations and acknowledged that Elliott Hall was going to be a project in itself. Though there was some concern looming with asbestos in the building, the real job was re-do the structure so that it was ready to withstand many more students
'We had a lot of work to do. We wanted to keep the classic, historical aspect of the building, but we also wanted to rebuild it for the next 50 years,' Lewis said.
Viewing the building from the outside allows the upgrades of double paned windows ready to keep out the cold, and the new ADA accessible ramp that allows the hall to accommodate for students with disabilities.
'The windows used to be single pane glass, which was very inefficient as far as heating is concerned. The building has never been wheelchair accessible but now it has been made possible,' said Lewis.
See the construction only on the outside of the structure? A tour of the inside of Elliott suggests the classic Victorian style, but now offers more of a contemporary look. New interior paint in shades of pale green and sand offers a relaxing backdrop to the hallways and common area, and new lighting fixtures add a fresh change. Carpeting throughout the building has also entirely been redone, including in all of the new rooms.
While showing a re-done room Lewis pointed out probably the most dramatic change of the hall.
'Elliott's rooms are all singles. We will always have double rooms. But now there are 42 single rooms on campus that female students can choose from as a housing option,' he said.
Enlarged closets and new furniture accent the rooms, and the bathrooms no longer give a vintage vibe. Everything from the technical plumbing to eye-appealing showers and privacy stalls has been replaced. The bathrooms resemble more of a hotel than that of a residence hall.
On the more technical side, boilers were replaced and all new wiring was installed.
'Every wire you now see in Elliott is brand new,' said Lewis, 'basically we had to gut the whole building.'
The rest of the residence halls, including McMaster and Ketcham, are expected to be completely renovated by the summer months of 2008.
The changes of Elliott Hall represent the renovation aspect of the project. Another part of the project, the staff also has imagined and fulfilled the execution of building apartment buildings close to the Mount Union campus. On both Union Avenue and Hartshorn Street, students will have the option to live independently, but still on campus.
Lewis commented that the staff 'really wanted to give students more freedom, but still wanted them to be a part of the campus community.'
After a January 31, 2007 open house, students were impressed about the new apartments. Boasting furnished single bedrooms and a common area with kitchen, the apartments also allow close parking and laundry facilities. Instead of a 'Community Educator' an apartment manager will be on site if students need anything.
Finally Lewis comments that the project is a huge undertaking, but the campus will look much better and will show the modernism and innovation of Mount Union College. Keeping the history of the tradition, the college is moving in all the right directions, including up, to make the college a welcoming place for both faculty, but this time around, students.