Iowa State University nameplate

Inside Iowa State
Gold bar
July 03, 2003

Design planning begins for Morrill Hall

by Debra Gibson
Nearly a year after President Gregory Geoffroy announced plans to renovate Morrill Hall at a cost of about $9 million, architects have initiated plans to redesign the 113-year-old building's interior.

To date, more than $4.6 million has been raised for the project. All comes from private gifts except for $850,000 from a state buildings appropriation that will be used to construct a classroom and a conference room.

At its May meeting, the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, approved hiring RDG Bussard Dikis, a Des Moines firm, to create a schematic design for the project. The firm will be paid $211,723 for its work.

This summer, architects are meeting with identified Morrill Hall tenants to determine the building's myriad design needs, according to Roger Graden, associate university architect. The three programs to be housed in Morrill Hall are the Christian Petersen Art Museum, the new Center for Visual Learning in Textiles and Clothing and the Center for Teaching Excellence. The classroom and conference room also will be available for university-wide use.

"Initially, a feasibility study was conducted to see how those entities might fit into Morrill Hall, and how the spaces needed to be arranged," Graden explained. "Now, we're getting into the details -- what these programs need for electrical service, if they need water hook-ups, how to handle treatments for windows, floors and ceilings."

While Graden stressed that the renovation designs still are very preliminary, he confirmed that the Christian Petersen Art Museum will be located on the second floor, formerly home to the building's chapel.

"President Geoffroy has said he wants to keep the quality of the space as original to Morrill Hall as we can," Graden said. "We think the museum gallery is a good fit there."

Original flavor
Nonetheless, Graden said the renovation of the building shouldn't be considered a true restoration.

"We certainly want to be sensitive to the original architecture," Graden said. "And we don't foresee altering the exterior, other than with new windows. The entryway will need to be altered to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act for accessibility, and we'll be updating all the restrooms for ADA as well.

"We definitely want to bring back some of the original glory that was there," he continued, "but it will be somewhat different. We're hoping to restore the flavor of the original building."

The architectural firm will present the completed schematic design to the regents at their September board meeting, Graden said. Once approved, the firm will spend several months drawing up detailed plans and creating construction documents. Actual renovation work is slated to begin sometime between July and September 2004, with a proposed move-in date set for early 2006.

The ISU Foundation's fund-raising efforts for the Morrill Hall renovation got a boost last month when alumna Barbara Raeder Palmer, State College, Penn., pledged $250,000 for the art museum.

... Becoming the Best
Ames, Iowa 50011, (515) 294-4111
Published by: University Relations,
Copyright © 1995-2003, Iowa State University. All rights reserved.