Ask Benny: Was only half of College Hall renovated?

Dear Benny,
I can’t help but notice when I walk by College Hall that one side of the building seems to have been renovated, while the other side of the building does not. The stone on the apparently renovated east façade seems to have been cleaned up; the stone on the west side, meanwhile, looks untouched. Were there renovations performed on one side of College Hall, but not the other?
—Curious About College Hall

Dear Perceptive Passerby,
Yes, you are correct—College Hall is essentially half renovated, which accounts for the east side’s fine finish and the west side’s, well, less impressive façade.

The building’s east wing and central portions were both completely restored, inside and out, in the mid-1990s, said Charles Newman, the University architect. As part of the overhaul, the building’s exterior was cleaned up, while inside, systems were upgraded, rooms and offices were reorganized and the building’s public spaces got much-needed facelifts.

The west side of the building, however, hasn’t been touched. Newman said the University is awaiting funding for renovations on that side of the building, though there’s no time frame right now for when that funding would arrive—or when work would begin. “The University is constantly evaluating priorities for capital improvement projects and determining how best to address the many demands for funding,” Newman said in an email.

There’s one other obstacle to any restoration on the building’s west side, Newman said. The History Department moved into that wing a few years back, and before any large-scale renovations could be started there, the department would have to be relocated for the duration of the work.

Originally published on February 10, 2005