CSU Announces Plans for Major Renovation of Howard Hall

One idea of Howard after renovationClick here to see a presentation with initial thoughts from 2WR architects on the renovation of Howard Hall. Plans are still being finalized and feedback is still being sought. Email pittman_eric@columbusstate.edu with any comments.

COLUMBUS, Ga. A major makeover is in the works for one of Columbus State University’s oldest and most-used classroom buildings.

Plans are now being finalized for a significant renovation of Howard Hall. Thanks to the work of Columbus-area legislators and the state Board of Regents, about $4 million was appropriated last year to upgrade Howard Hall.

The building will go offline after this semester ends in May, and construction on the building will start soon thereafter. University officials expect the building to reopen for the fall 2015 semester.

Renovating the building, which opened in 1963 when the university moved to what’s now main campus from its original home in an abandoned hosiery mill, will create:

  • New technology in each classroom.
  • An elevator.
  • A common area at the building’s entrance with lot of space for seating, gathering, studying,  and charging electronics.
  • New, quieter, more efficient heating and cooling systems.
  • Additional bathrooms on the second floor.
  • Higher ceilings and better lighting in all classrooms.
  • New furniture.
  • New doorways and treatments on the second floor to prevent students from standing in the rain before classes start.
  • Significant aesthetic improvements inside and outside the building.
  • New, bigger home in neighboring Schwob Memorial Library for Einstein Brothers, the campus deli that was in Howard Hall.

“We're very excited about the plans for a new Howard Hall,” said Patrick McHenry, interim dean of the College of Letters and Sciences who led a committee of faculty and staff in advising architects on how the building could best be repurposed. “This renovation will allow us to rethink Howard not just as a collection of rooms but as a learning environment, complete with the kinds of social spaces that encourage student interaction in and out of class. The furniture will be flexible, the technology the latest. Everything will be designed to help students succeed. The design process has been highly collaborative, with a faculty and staff committee meeting with architects at weekly.”

The project was recommended last year by the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents, but not included in the governor’s initial proposed budget. However, he left room for such projects to be included in the final budget, if legislators desired. University officials worked with Columbus-area lawmakers to have the project added to the final budget. Sen. Ed Harbison, Sen. Josh McKoon, Rep. Richard Smith, Rep. Calvin Smyre, Rep. Debbie Buckner, Rep. Carolyn Hugley and Rep. John Pezold all supported the project. (They are all being called again this year to help again as the university tries to have money added to the Fiscal Year 2015 budget to renovate Arnold Hall next.)

Renovating the aging buildings on Columbus State University’s main campus was among recommendations made by internationally renowned master planners Sasaki Associates, when the firm completed a USG-required evaluation of building space, utilization and growth at CSU.

Columbus State University is addressing these issues in their new master plan in a systematic way, with both private funding and state support. Renovating Howard and Arnold halls, both general purpose classroom buildings, will bring the facilities up to environmental and building standards expected today. It will also provide a technologically capable teaching environment that both reflects the quality that students expect, and  that are seen elsewhere at Columbus State University with projects developed through private support.

Howard Hall is named in memory of William Howard, one of Columbus College’s earliest English professors.

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