The past seven years have transformed the University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus.
Ole’s Crossing vanished, the old wood bridge from the senior residences replaced with a walkway. We built a brand new Library and Forum. We tore down North Hall and paved the Faith & Life parking lot. Last year, we started construction on the most ambitious project to date: the new Performing Arts Centre, which is being built in partnership with the City of Camrose and Camrose County. Finally, we temporarily added extra faculty offices and classroom space in Heather Brae Hall on the southern edge of campus.
So what’s with the scaffolding set up around our oldest building, the venerable Founders’ Hall?
Old Main is getting a facelift. The original structure was built in 1912 and housed the entire campus – classrooms, faculty offices, library, cafeteria and student dorms – for the first few decades of the Camrose Lutheran College. Made of perishable wood, the building has required plenty of TLC over its first century. It has undergone several changes, both cosmetic and structural, during its lifetime. It has even been moved 100 metres south since it was built. In the next two years, it will see some of its biggest changes yet as it prepares to serve for another hundred years!
“We are trying hard to keep the look and feel of the building’s exterior,” says Tim Hanson, Assistant Dean of External Relations for Augustana Campus. “But the biggest change you’ll see is the modern elevator added to the east side.” Founders’ Hall had never been wheelchair accessible, and this addition will address this longtime need. The Campus is also in discussions to include a pedway across from the second floor of the Forum building, to improve access during Alberta’s long, cold winter months.
There will be several major changes to its interior as well.
“Visitors to the renovated Founders’ Hall will be greeting by an open, welcoming space,” says Tim. “We are calling it the Campus Living Room. There will be couches and space for small groups to gather and talk. We will have the building’s reception desk located here, as well as literature for prospective students and their families.”
The main level of Founders’ Hall will include the Prospective Students Office and Admissions Advisors, plus Financial Aid and Scholarship information. Downstairs on the Garden Level, visitors will find Alumni Relations and Development offices, as well as space for the Campus Ambassador program – students who work to promote Augustana and welcome visitors to campus. The floor plan includes a large multipurpose room for group functions or seminars, which will open out onto a sunny sunken patio on the southwest corner of the building.
The second floor will house the Learning and Beyond offices, as well as Academic and Career Advising. By bringing these offices together, current students will have one place to go for all of their academic, extracurricular and post-graduation needs. There will be a reading space stocked with literature about career planning, travel/study opportunities, and community service-learning projects.
The top floors of Founders’ Hall will hold both faculty offices and student research spaces, which will allow closer supervision and collaboration on projects.
“The goal for the renovation is to preserve the original building,” says Tim, “while updating the interior and prepare Founders’ Hall for our future needs. This building is really the heart of campus – these changes are going to help keep it that way.”