By: Lydia Rogers
Xavier’s Alter Renovation Team (ART) held forums over the past two weeks to discuss the restoration of Alter Hall.
The forum was open to all Xavier students and aimed to inform them about the vision as well as gain their input.
However, due to scheduling conflicts with a number of university meetings and events, there were few in attendance.
“We were disappointed with the turnout,” ART Co-chair Lynda Kilbourne said. “We have been working hard on these plans and we are excited to share them.”
All students and faculty are encouraged to attend. “Hopefully those who couldn’t make it last time can come, we want a lot of people to learn about what’s happening.” Kilbourne said.
There was confusion on campus about the exact plans for what would be done with Alter.
“There was a dilemma because the building was crumbling from the inside and needed to be shut down,” Kilbourne said. “But there was also a growing influx of students who would need the space, so something had to be done.”
The building codes at the time would have made renovation too expensive so the committee initially resolved to tear down Alter and start over.
However, those plans fell though due to other building code restrictions and budget issues. A different approach had to be taken, but options seemed to be running out.
“Finally, we found out that there was a change in the building codes so now we actually could renovate,” Kilbourne said. “It’s difficult when you know something has to be done and you set out to do it, but you have to work around the limitations. There is a significant influence from the external environment, and it can shift dramatically and change everything.”
With the renovation option back on the table, ART worked over the summer to develop a new vision for Alter Hall. The current plans include renovating and redesigning Alter’s exterior and interior.
“Alter is the bridge between the two main sides of campus, and the new exterior will reflect that,” Kilbourne said.
The new design will incorporate features that will complement the styles of the Hoff Dining Center and the academic mall, with some walls of glass windows and distinct stone architecture.
For the interior, ART aims to create flexible classroom environments to accommodate a range of disciplines. It aims to use the space in the most resourceful way that meets the needs of students and faculty.
“We still need to gather information about what need still have to be met,” Kilbourne said. “That’s why we want people to come to the forum and give their input on an interior design.”
ART also plans to make Alter more environmentally efficient. It will be incorporating sustainability elements that will keep Xavier on the green track. All the buildings of the Hoff Quad meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver standards.
“We are most proud of the fact that the renovations on Alter will advance to the LEED gold standards,” Kilbourne said.
ART estimates that the project will be completed for the fall 2015 semester.
However, the start time of renovation is still in question as the required funding has yet to be met.
The project requires, but will not exceed, $18 million. ART has currently reached $12 million and once the proper funding is available, renovations will be under way.