Wilson Hall likely to see renovation next school year

Construction set to start in summer of 2014, take one year for completion


Wilson Hall (above) will likely see renovations during the next year.

A proposal to renovate Wilson Hall will be reviewed by the Board of Visitors’ Finance Committee and the Buildings and Grounds Committee Thursday afternoon.

“[We’re] planning a light refreshing of Wilson Hall,” said Anna Towns, director of space planning and management for the University. “It’s a great building with good bones.”

Assuming the plans are approved by the Board, Wilson Hall will not be in use during the upcoming academic year, said Colette Sheehy, vice president for management and budget.

“Renovations are planned to take a full year, being completed the summer of 2015,” Towns said.

Included in the renovation proposal is an interior renewal of the entire building and a partial renovation of the first and second floors. Towns said a third-floor classroom would also be renovated into an active learning class space, meaning it would be structured to cultivate an innovative and collaborative learning environment.

“All older buildings have some mechanical deficiencies,” Sheehy said. A new sprinkler system, modification to HVAC and Building Automation System control systems and new security accesses are among the improvements set to be made.

New lighting and increased access and utilization of natural light for interior spaces are also included among intended internal improvements.

“Because it’s an older building, we’re trying to bring more natural light into [the] interior,” Sheehy said. “It’s along the lines of trying to make the classrooms look like the ones in New Cabell Hall.”

Renovation plans also include the addition of a new accessible entrance at the first floor south elevation facing Jefferson Park Avenue. Sheehy said the new entrance will be wheelchair accessible and provide easier access to the building from JPA.

After renovations, Wilson Hall would serve as a designated space for multi-disciplinary programs currently without a home, she said.

“There are a number of programs that are very high energy, and need to be better housed in a more central location,” Towns said.

Though the Media Studies department already has space in Wilson, newer programs could soon get offices there as well.

According to the Finance Committee meeting agenda, the project is set to cost $4.65 million, with $1.65 million coming from maintenance reserve funds and an additional $3 million coming from gifts from the College.

Sheehy said the renovations are not as comprehensive as other recent projects on Grounds.

“It’s not like what we’re doing with Ruffner and renovating the entire building,” Sheehy said. “It’s on a much more modest scope.”

Sheehy said the renovations are set to start in the summer, when the building will not be needed for classes. The project will begin as more classrooms in New Cabell continue to become available.

“We’re taking advantage of the fact that the building will be empty as New Cabell will be finished,” Sheehy said. “It’s much easier to work in a building with no one in it.”

Sheehy will report the proposal to the Finance Committee at Thursday’s 2:45 p.m. Board session.

Published February 19, 2014 in FP test, News

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