MU English and Communication departments embrace renovated halls

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 | 5:30 p.m. CDT
Renovations were wrapping up at Tate Hall when this picture was shot, on May 25. MU's English Department will move back into the building, which had been closed for reconstruction since December 2009. A remodeled Switzler Hall, home to the Communication Department, will also reopen.

COLUMBIA — The English and Communication departments are ready to move back to their respective homes this summer. 

Renovations for Switzler and Tate Halls are complete, and an open house will be held Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

People are invited to stop by to see the renovations before the halls are opened for classes this fall. The halls were closed in December 2009, according to a previous Missourian report.

These halls are part of a renovation plan including over 30 buildings, said Karlan Seville, communications manager for Campus Facilities. Campus Facilities hired a national benchmarking firm, Sightlines, to survey properties on campus. The survey included an analysis of building features such as energy efficiency and life safety features.

Sightlines found it is cheaper to do complete renovations than smaller ones one at a time, Seville said. She said Switzler and Tate halls were at the top of the list for renovation.

“The university is in need of space that works for today’s researchers, faculty and students,” Seville said.

Dean of Arts and Science Michael O’Brien said the English and communication departments will be back in much better surroundings. He said it will boost the number of classrooms on campus and there is even a net gain of three classrooms.

The College of Arts and Science faculty were very involved in the renovations, O’Brien said. Even individual faculty members were able to give input to things that would make life easier, he said.

“It was as integrated a project as you could ever hope for,” O’Brien said.

Both buildings now meet all code requirements. Campus Facilities replaced inefficient mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems that were beyond their life cycle.

The buildings now meet new fire protection standards. They have new fire alarms and security systems. ADA accessibility has been improved in both buildings as well.

“We have a new renovation model that we implemented on these two projects, and it was successful so we will use it again for the next building,” Seville said. “We are very happy with the model.”

Some architectural features from the original buildings were purposefully maintained, such as windows being put back in after the renovation, O’Brien said.

The combined project cost was $15 million.

The next building to undergo renovation will be Gwynn Hall, in the summer of 2012.

View Tate and Switzler halls in a larger map

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