Cornell College renovating 4 residence halls

Cornell College will begin a $10 million, 15-month renovation of four residence halls in early May.

The project, which is made possible by outright gifts from members of the college’s Board of Trustees and their families, will completely renovate and modernize Dows,  Tarr, Pauley and Rorem halls, four residence halls built in the 1960s that house a total of about 300 students. Work will begin immediately following the end of the academic year on May 11 and continue through August 2015.

The renovations will include more inviting entrances and patios for each building, more natural light and activity spaces, new and expanded bathrooms, and upgrades to student rooms, including new flooring, lighting and furniture. All mechanical systems, including electrical, heating and plumbing, will be replaced. New energy efficient windows will be installed in student rooms, as well.

    “With 92 percent of our students living on campus, the residential experience is a central feature of a Cornell education,” said John W. Harp, vice president for student affairs. “These residence halls were built nearly 50 years ago, and student expectations have changed dramatically since then. These renovations will provide vibrant and engaging spaces to help our students have the best possible experience at Cornell College.”

    Each of the four buildings will have a themed lounge on the first floor: Pauley will have an area dedicated to recreation and games; Rorem, which is connected to Pauley, will have a reading room and individual and group study rooms; Tarr will have a stage and performance area; and Dows will have a demonstration-style kitchen.

    The project is being supported by college trustees, including leadership gifts from John Smith ’71 and Dyan Smith of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Richard Small ’50 and Norma Thomas Small of Tulsa, Okla.; Linda Webb Koehn ’66 and Thomas Koehn of West Des Moines, Iowa; and Richard Williams ’63 and Marlene Williams of Chicago. The college is continuing to raise money to further enhance the exterior spaces and entrances of each building.

    “The tremendous support from the Board of Trustees is a sign of their commitment and of a strong future for Cornell,” said Cornell College President Jonathan Brand. “Higher education as a sector is facing many challenges, but the gifts from our trustees ensure that we will continue to improve our residential and academic buildings across campus.”

    Work will proceed in phases, starting with Pauley Hall in May 2014. All four halls will be finished by the beginning of the 2015-16 academic year, and only one building will be offline at a time, to maximize space available for housing and minimize inconvenience for students.