The University has begun scheduled renovations for Peabody Hall, closing the office for at least six weeks. The hall has served as the home for the Office of Admissions and the Office of the Dean of Students for nearly 20 years.
Dean of Admission Greg Roberts said in an email statement to The Cavalier Daily that while it has been a good fit for the admissions team, the look and feel of the interior of the building have grown tired and dated.
“Prospective student and guest expectations for the Grounds visit experience have changed over time and we wanted to provide a fresh, warm, and friendly environment for our visitors,” Roberts said.
The additions to the building will also improve technological capabilities and add better design flow to the building. Roberts also added that the renovations will increase the size of the auditorium to accommodate more guests for information sessions.
The renovation is expected to cost $250,000 and will conclude in January 2019, according to Deputy University Spokesperson Wesley Hester.
Admissions deans and counselors will still be able to use their offices during the renovations, as the construction does not affect their day-to-day operations.
“While there is no good time for a renovation like this, it does fit into a window of time when visitor numbers are low,” Roberts said. “Information sessions will continue to be held in the Newcomb Theater for the time being and we have signage with instructions for reaching a dean if guests arrive on Grounds unannounced.”
Associate Dean of Admission Jeannine Lalonde — often known colloquially as Dean J — has been a manager of the renovation project, and oversaw the architectural alterations for the plan for over a year. She has routinely posted pictures and stories on her public Instagram page throughout the design process.
Lalonde said in an email statement to The Cavalier Daily through November to March, as admissions officers begin reading applications, most of the deans work from home. This has caused less disruption in their reviewing process, and admissions officers have sought alternative locations when working in Peabody Hall.
“We occupy the first floor and the basement of Peabody, so while the work is obviously a disruption, we can continue working in the basement,” Lalonde said.
The goal of the project is to make a “modern, open, student-friendly space in the Admission office will help us offer a best-in-class experience and remain competitive with our peers, especially those who have built state-of-the art welcome centers and admission buildings,” Roberts said.