The buzz of high-powered chainsaws and the pounding of heavy construction machinery can be heard around the Arts Research and Culture House (ARCH) building this summer as the structure undergoes an extensive renovation.
The Gothic Revival-style building, located at 36th Street and Locust Walk, is the long-time home to three student cultural centers—La Casa Latina, Makuu: Black Cultural Center, and the Pan-Asian American Community House (PAACH)—as well as the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF). But on May 21, all the occupants moved out. During the renovation, which is expected to take about 18 months, they will occupy temporary offices across campus.
La Casa Latina, Makuu, and PAACH have relocated temporarily to the second floor in Houston Hall, and CURF is now located in office space on 40th Street, above a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop.
“For the cultural centers, they’re still in the center of campus in Houston Hall, but they’re in far less space than when they were in the ARCH,” says Rob Nelson, director of education in the Provost’s Office. “For CURF, the challenge is that they’re moving from the center of campus to the west edge of campus.”
Since it will be a little more difficult to find CURF, the department is planning to deliver its services to places where students study and live. “We’re planning to organize more ‘CURF in your neighborhood’ events around campus, or in a dorm common room, so that our presence is still there and we can help students find us,” says Aaron Olson, CURF’s communications director.
The ARCH renovation project is expected to restore the historic building to its original grandeur, with the addition of modern amenities. The building is scheduled to get a much-needed upgrade on its mechanical and electrical systems, and will be equipped with central air conditioning. A new elevator, replacing an aging chair lift, will also make the building compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
When the renovations are completed in December 2013, the cultural centers will be located on the ground floor. CURF’s new offices will be on the second and third floors. The building’s auditorium will be transformed into a multi-purpose room that can be used for lectures, banquets, or performances.
To view pictures and information about the progress of the ARCH renovations, visit the ARCH website.
Originally published on June 7, 2012