Building(s) for Tomorrow

Starting last spring, the campus has seen a lot of repairs and renovations, beginning with the flower-bedecked median strip on Main Street. There is also a bronze rendition of the College seal with the head of John Amos Comenius, five feet in diameter, set in the sidewalk in front of Colonial Hall, which houses the President’s Office as well as Admissions, Financial Aid, the Bursar, and other administrative offices for the College.

Less showy but overdue by some years was a new roof on Comenius Hall, especially after the unusually heavy spring rains. Monocacy Hall was redone from top to toe, becoming the home of the Office of Academic Affairs on the main floor, the Registrar on the top floor, and the Offices of International Studies and Institutional Diversity/Multicultural Affairs on the lower level.

But all that falls under the heading of “running repairs”: the kind you undertake while the boat keeps on sailing or the family stays in the house. At a September faculty meeting, the guests of honor were consultants Barry Pell of Spillman Farmer Architects and John Bengston of Paulien & Associates, a Denver-based firm that specializes in helping colleges plan for expansion.

They offered a chart of usable square footage in current buildings, a plan to reassign space as necessary for departments and programs to grow, and thoughts for the future that lies barely visible on the horizon: the projected growth of the student body to 1,600 students within 10 years, and what this will mean in terms of increases in faculty, staff, facilities, and services.

One of their plans detailed a welcome modernization to Comenius Hall: an elevator for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. (A brand-new elevator was included in the Monocacy Hall makeover for the same reason.) After studying the plan for some time, Dennis Glew, professor of history and chairman of the History Department, rose and said: “I have been an advocate for an elevator in Comenius for a long time. But that was before I knew it was planned to go right through the middle of my office.”

Top, installers maneuver the impressive bronze College seal into its position in the walkway in front of Colonial Hall. Above, the seal is ready to be lowered into its socket.

Photos: Michael P. Wilson