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The Blue & Gray Press | June 27, 2017

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Monroe Ready for Upgrade

Miles Dumville/Bullet

Miles Dumville/Bullet

By SARAH SANDERS

Preparations are being made to undergo an extensive two-year renovation project on Monroe Hall, one of the three original buildings on the Mary Washington campus.

“The building is going under major renovation, a complete reallocation of space,”  Rosemary Barra, interim vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty, said.

Barra served on the building committee for the project. Other committee members included representatives from each of the departments located in the building, members of the facilities services and students.

“A construction company has won the bid for the project, and will be formally announced [this] week,” Bara said.

Plans for the project were submitted to Richmond for review in February and were finalized this past spring.  All the funding for the project is coming from the state.

In order for construction to commence, all departments were required to relocate during the summer months. The departments of history, political science and international affairs have moved to Mercer Hall, with the sociology and anthropology departments moving to George Washington and geography relocating to Annex B, formally the bookstore, for the project’s duration.

The economics department made the move to 1004 College Ave. and will remain there permanently.

In addition to entirely reconfiguring the walls and hallways in the building, the project also includes the replacement and upgrading of the building’s major systems including the heating, air conditioning and electrical wiring. The building will also receive new energy efficient windows.

“The departments had input as to their needs,” Barra said of the new building plans. Each department was given the opportunity to present their needs so that the building will be functional upon the completion of the project.

Renovations will not be limited to the inside of the structure, but will also take place on the building’s exterior. The old wooden capitals adorning the front of the building will be removed and replaced with new ones made from fiberglass.

Some department members have expressed their concern for the actual plans to be carried out on one of the most historic buildings on campus.

“The building will suit the needs of the facilities, but I’m afraid the narrative of the place will be compromised…[some] features once removed will not be able to be put back,” Gary Stanton, an associate professor in the historic preservation department, said.

Carter Hudgins, professor of history and American Studies, is concerned with the effect the renovations will have on the historic character and significance of the building.

“It’s a short-sighted project. We need another building now, and rather than taking the path we should take we have taken the quickest, easiest path,” Hudgins said.

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