With Christ Chapel construction coming to a close, various campus construction projects continue.
After the Chapel dedication in October, construction crews finished the entire interior, with the exception of two pieces: the large organ and some additional sound equipment.
According to Chief Administrative Officer Rich Péwé, there will be a chancel organ dedication on April 16.
“The organ is a special and important thing,” Péwé said. “It’s a musical instrument, so we’ll have a concert in the evening and a convocation.”
Over the past year, the college has been slowly renovating Mauck Elementary, especially the upper floor. Once renovations are complete in 2020, the Barney Charter team will move from their temporary location on the upper floor of the Dow Center to the elementary school.
“The move puts them closer to the Academy which is good because they work closely with the Academy,” Péwé said.
In addition to providing office space, the elementary school could potentially provide classroom space for filming Hillsdale Online Courses, as well as a venue for charter school teacher trainings in the summer.
“It’ll be nice for us to be in a school,” Assistant Provost for K‑12 Education Kathleen O’Toole said. “We’re all former teachers and former principals. It will feel like home.”
The next large-scale construction project slated for the college is the renovation of Dow A & B.
The growing number of CCA attendees and other public functions necessitates remodeling Dow’s facilities. While there is no official timeline at the moment, the college is raising funds for a renovation.
Currently, curtains close off the entire second-floor mezzanine. Under the new plans, the roof will be converted into an atrium-style roof, allowing natural light to come in. Furthermore, the upper floor will be transformed into archival storage for visitors and students to peruse Hillsdale’s many rare artifacts.
“We have museum-quality cases for archival material, rare books, and things we’ve been given,” Péwé said. “I think it would give a space for a visitor, or somebody staying in the hotel, where they can read or feel more connected to the college.”
Unplanned renovations came for Hillsdale with the October rainstorms. Benzing Dorm flooded for the first time.
The intense October rains streamed quickly down Barber Drive, filled the drainage containers near the Slayton Arboretum, and pooled along the backside of Benzing. Eventually, the rain water found its way into the building, filling the basement with several inches of water.
Residents had the option to move out on Monday, Sept. 30, when it first flooded; however, those who did not move out encountered a second flooding on the Thursday of that week, according to Benzing House Director and senior Hadiah Ritchey.
“Everyone had moved out a lot of stuff at the time of the second flood,” Ritchey said, “I’m sure it was miserable to have woken up twice in one week from water.”
The deans were able to find alternative housing options for the 14 women who had to abandon their dorm rooms.
Despite the large amount of water in the dorm, the hard flooring was not damaged, and construction crews only needed to re-carpet the basement hallway and clean up the floors in the rooms.
To ensure it does not happen again, the parking lot was reshaped to keep water from coming into the lot, and the drainage wells were expanded.