Students and faculty can expect to see South Hall open next semester as construction in the building draws to a close. The renovations, which began in January of this year, are due to finish around November. Originally constructed in 1931, South Hall has seen many functions throughout its life.
“It being such an old building, we’ve run into a lot of things as we’re demoing (sic),” said project manager DeLayne Miller. “It used to be the cafeteria and the university center a long time ago, so there’s a lot of quarry tile throughout.”
Quarry tile can cause floors to be uneven or prevent carpet from adhering to them. Another challenge is the inconsistency of the building. South Hall has received several additions over the years which were sometimes built differently from the rest of the structure. Some renovations involve knocking down walls to make bigger classrooms, a task made much more difficult by these structural differences.
Construction is still on schedule, despite these setbacks, so students can look forward to a more pleasant experience in South Hall come spring 2015. Work on the building included extensive resurfacing, installation of sprinklers and an entirely new climate control system.
Classes located in South Hall were moved to Foundation Hall for the duration of the work. An old building itself, Foundation Hall was once Prescott Middle School and some students have found themselves taking college courses in their old preteen haunts.
“It’s pretty much like I left it in the sixth grade,” said human ecology major Janeth Cruz. “It’s a little creepy, but I like that it has its own parking. I don’t have to struggle to find a spot when I have a class over there.”
As the work in South Hall draws to a close, Tech is setting its sights on the next building to be renovated: Jere Whitson, home of the Backdoor Playhouse.
“We’re going to put a sprinkler system in there and upgrade the air conditioning,” said Miller. “Right now we’re in the process of programming to see who’s going into that building. I think there will be a few changes with who’s going in there, but we haven’t gotten into that yet. I’m pretty sure the Backdoor Playhouse will still be there, but as far as who else will be in there, we don’t really know yet.”
Much like South Hall, all departments will have to move out of the building during the renovations. The entire operation is still in the planning phase but is tentatively slated to begin in December of 2015.