Founders Hall empty for demolition

Campus offices on the move as Founders demolition nears

August 8, 2019
Ariel Wish '20
Denise with wagon

Denise Brault of the VPAA and Dean’s Office, directly above, used a kids’ wagon to get an early start on the move Wednesday. Signage is up around Klein identifying new office occupants (photo below). (Photos by Mark Tarnacki and Ariel Wish ’20)

Come Monday morning, August 12, Founders Hall and Founders Hall Annex will be completely empty and the President’s Office, Academic Affairs, and the Registrar will be operating from their new home Klein Hall, reports Joel Ribout, associate director of facilities and the one responsible for planning the Founders tear-down process scheduled to begin this fall semester.

In preparation for this move, the former occupants of Klein (Military Community Services and the Classic Modern Language and Literature Department) have made their way to the newly renovated first floor of Joyce Hall, which they share with Student Financial Services, EPSCoR, and several adjunct faculty members previously housed in the Founders Hall Annex. These locational changes have been made with sensitivity to student, faculty, and staff convenience, ensuring that all departments will continue to run smoothly and effectively, says Ribout.

Klein door signIt’s a milestone and somewhat bittersweet moment for the campus’s most iconic building, which has been in busy use for more than a century until this week. Extensive studies conclusively determined that preserving the building was unfeasible both due to structural and financial considerations. The last occupants of Founders Hall — President Lorraine Sterritt and her staff — are moving officially over to newly renovated office in Klein Hall on Friday, August 8, while on Wednesday and Thursday some staffers from other Academic Affairs offices were getting a head-start on the moving process to Klein over from Founders — as with Denise Brault, executive assistant to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Dean, who hauled several plants and boxes over from Founders in a child’s wagon to her new Klein office space (photos at right).

Fresh paint and nametags were up already Wednesday awaiting the Academic Affairs staff and others moving to Klein. The Registrar’s office is now the far-right office suite as one faces Klein from the Teaching Gardens, with the President’s Office entrance and its renovated entrance to the left nearest to the academic buildings, with other Academic Affairs offices in between. Peggy Imai is staying in Klein with the Study Abroad Office that she runs. Features in the renovated Klein include bright new conference rooms for the president and dean, and the Klein fireplace is now part of a pleasant sitting cove in the president’s new office in the southeast corner.

Amid the moves, the permitting process to take down Founders is well under way, and is expected to be solidified by mid-October, at which point the physical dismantling of the building will begin. Ribout reports that if everything proceeds according to plan, new walkways and greenery will take the place of Founders by spring of 2020. While not yet intact, plans are being made for the cupola to be placed on the ground directly below where it sat on the building, standing as an emblem of St. Mike’s and the beloved Founders Hall.

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