Facilities Management will begin major renovations to part of H.J. Patterson Hall starting in July to create a new space for this university’s international departments and communities, officials said.
The $18.2 million project will involve major renovations to four floors of the building, adding new offices, classrooms and student space to the building’s east wing, which will face the Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center, Facilities Management Director Bill Olen said. The space will be ready in October 2016.
Once construction is complete, the new wing will house the Office of International Affairs, the Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies, the Language Science Center and the Arabic and Persian flagship language programs, Lori Owen, arts and humanities college facilities director, wrote in an email.
“The spaces are being designed so as to encourage collaboration among these groups as well as many others across campus,” Owen wrote. “A goal for the building is for it to act as an international hub for the entire campus.”
To create this hub, the first floor will contain space called the “Global Crossroads,” said Ross Lewin, associate vice president of the Office of International Affairs. This large common space will be used for the departments’ and programs’ events.
“This will be a place where people all over the world can meet over a cup of coffee or a bagel and some hummus,” Lewin said.
The open space will become a melting pot of international culture and ideas, he said. They plan to host lectures, events or meet-and-greets and serve international food. A multipaneled television will also play news or sports events, and art from different parts of the world will be displayed.
“It’s not only about projecting diversity out on the world, but also bringing the world back into our university,” he said. “We want to project an academic priority to identify this campus as a global university and a center of global excellence.”
Facilities Management has almost finished partial demolition of the wing, which involves gutting the building’s offices and extraneous parts, and is doing a mandatory safety check for asbestos, Olen said.
H.J. Patterson Hall’s wing will also receive a new computer lab and updated heating and air conditioning and other utilities, said Terence McCann, director of Academic Facilities.
H.J. Patterson Hall is one of the oldest buildings on the campus, and the east wing has never seen changes since its inception in 1931, when it was mostly used by the agriculture department, McCann said. After the department moved out, the wing stayed “mostly empty” as officials planned a larger update.
When Facilties Management had to remove Holzapfel Hall to make room for the center’s construction, H.J. Patterson Hall became the most appealing relocation spot for the departments, such as international affairs, that resided in Holzapfel Hall.