Reggie Jones grinds down a welded joint on a support beam that is being installed in the Ward and Jo Ann Withrow Student Activities Center in the J. Graham Brown Campus Center
Reggie Jones grinds down a welded joint on a support beam that is being installed in the Ward and Jo Ann Withrow Student Activities Center in the J. Graham Brown Campus Center
Campus buildings may look the same on the outside when students return to college after summer break later this year, but the interior of several Hanover College buildings will undergo extensive changes over the next few months.

The renovations and repurposing project at the college began to take shape when Hanover College President Sue DeWine came to the school in 2007. The projects finally took off with two driving forces behind it: Increased student enrollment and increased enthusiasm from alumni and current students

"Our enrollment is increasing," DeWine said. "So we need more housing."

Several of the projects were also made possible thanks to support and funding from alumni who saw the need for the projects and improvements.

From energy-efficient lighting to meeting rooms for students to new athletic facilities, projects totaling over $16 million will serve the growing student body - as well as provide an economic boost to the area.

The college plans to use contractors and sub-contractors from the Jefferson County area, said Scott Klein, Hanover College's director of operations.

"It's going to create a lot of jobs for local people," Klein said.

By selecting construction crews from the area, the college will be able to keep even more of the estimated $61 million of Hanover's economic impact projected by the Independent Colleges of Indiana in the local community.

Ward and Jo Ann Withrow

Student Activities Center

Construction crews have already begun work to convert space over the college's former pool area - most recently used as a recreational space for students - into a larger open space for students to gather with friends and groups. The project was helped along with a $1 million donation from a Hanover graduate

Jo Ann Withrow, a 1963 graduate, made a donation to the school in memory of her late husband, Ward.

The couple met while they were students - just one example of the nearly 20 percent of Hanover College alumni who marry after meeting at the school - and Withrow wanted a space on campus for students to meet and hang out with friends much like she and her husband did during their college experience, DeWine said.

The center will include a large student meeting space, TV lounge, computer lab and conference areas for student organizations. The student activities center will be the new home for the Student Life staff and the Haq Center for minority and international students as well.

"(It will) really, truly bring all the student groups together," Klein said.

The project, which was awarded to Teton Corporation of Madison, is expected to be completed in April.

Lynn Hall

Lynn Hall, completed in 1947, served as the college's main gymnasium for several years before becoming a multipurpose space on the campus. After renovations, the space will offer more than just recreational space and offices.

Beginning in August 2014, residential suites will also be located in the building. The suites will be available to upperclassmen.

The hall was one of eight campus buildings at Hanover designed by collegiate architect Jens Frederick Larson in 1942 and 1943, according to John Martin, professor of art history. Larson also designed buildings at Dartmouth, Princeton, the University of Paris and other colleges throughout his career.

Because World War II made construction materials unavailable during the early 1940s, Hanover College chose to have the details and planning completed so that the building project could begin soon after the war. The building served as the college's gymnasium until the construction of the Horner Center in the mid-1990s.

With the historic ties to the campus and connections to the architecture of other universities, students chose to repurpose the building instead of building something new and modern.

"We could have torn down this old gym building," DeWine said, yet the opinion of students was for the historical building to remain. "Students were very enthusiastic."

Klein also noted the decision to keep the existing structure was an environmentally-friendly effort. Even though it would have been easier tear down and rebuild, hauling away the debris to the landfill would have taken up a lot of space to dispose of the exterior.

"It'd be more expensive to do that," he said.

The $5.5 million project will add office space and two classrooms separated by a glass divider. The divider will allow the classrooms to be opened for multipurpose space when classes aren't in session.

The gym will also become a residential facility for upperclassmen. Housing will feature suite-style living with two bedrooms and a living area in each space. The renovations are expected to add over 70 beds to campus housing.

"We really based this on students," DeWine said. "We think a big part of their experience is living here."

HVAC and lighting

College officials plan to upgrade heating, cooling and lighting systems over the summer in 13 of the campus buildings. The $2.8 million project is expected to begin after students leave campus for summer break and be completed by the time they return in the fall.

"That's a very important project that you're not going to see," DeWine said.

The lighting project will replace exterior street lighting with LED lights on Hanover's campus, Klein said, as well as interior lighting with energy-saving florescent lighting in the Duggan Library and Horner Center. The project will pay for itself within two years.

"This is a very old campus," DeWine said. "There is a conscious effort for energy savings."

Eleven of Hanover's buildings will have new heating and cooling systems installed. The HVAC project will pay for itself within eight years, Klein said. The system will also help the college save around $350,000 a year in heating costs after the project is paid off.

"It's a no-brainer," DeWine said. "It was the obvious thing to do."

Some of the work with the HVAC and lighting projects will take place overnight to reduce the impact on summer camps or classes in the campus buildings, Klein said.

Dining services renovation

The student dining room will have a new look and layout after a renovation that is expected to begin in June, Klein said.

While none of the renovations will include changes to the exterior of the building, some of the walls within the dining services area will be taken out during the construction work that is expected to cost around $1 million.

Walls near the food service lines will be taken down and moved forward to allow more space in that area. Other offices near the dining services area will be opened to the dining room to account for the extra space added to the food service lines.

"I think we lose a maximum of five seats," Klein said of the changes. "The new layout with help traffic flow."

The renovations will also include new seating and furniture in the dining room.

Food services for summer camps will be offered at other locations around the campus, such as the Underground a la carte line or the Shoebox cafe area.

Outdoor athletic facilities

The new outdoor athletic facilities - expected to cost $6 million when completed - include new locker rooms, concessions, public restrooms and a training room for outdoor sports.

With the opening of the Horner Center in 1995, the college recognized the need for updates to the other collegiate sports facilities at the college.

The first phase of the project was completed last year with the completion of the Zeddies Tennis Center.

"We went from having the worst tennis facilities in the conference to the best," DeWine said.

Hanover graduate Michael Zeddies Jr. and his wife, Judy, funded the project. The center, located next to Hanover's football stadium, features eight new asphalt courts, an outdoor pavilion and bleachers.

Other facilities that make up the athletic facilities project will be completed throughout the year. The construction work isn't expected to conflict with any of the athletic programs as work has been scheduled around athletic seasons, Klein said.

Usually large-scale renovation projects take place one at a time, he said, yet the college decided to move forward with these five projects all at once. With planning, the upgrades and renovations aren't expected to displace summer activities or campus offices.

"It really won't affect any of the camps," Klein said, and most campus offices will move just once when the new space is completed.

Donations for the tennis center and the student activities center preceded Hanover College's unveiling of the "Live Our Loyalty" fundraising drive - which has a goal of over $34 million for improvements to the campus, scholarships, study abroad opportunities and expanded academic programs. Other components of the renovation process will be funded by the gifts donated to the campaign.

"This is one of the most exciting times at Hanover College," DeWine said.