April 22, 2010

Sloss House

Nestled between Curtiss Hall and Gerdin Business Building, the historic Sloss House will be refurbished over the summer months. Photo by Bob Elbert.

Historic house gets new look

by Erin Rosacker

The Margaret Sloss women's center will relocate for the summer while Sloss House gets a much-needed facelift. An April 29 reception (2-4 p.m.), including building tours, is planned prior to the closure. The project will cost an estimated $156,000.

Sloss House reception

April 29, 2-4 p.m.

The exterior work has begun, and crews will move inside soon. Water damage, particularly in the northeast corner of the house, will be fixed. New windows, gutters, paint and refinished floors also are among the items on the list of things to do. The Government of the Student Body earmarked nearly $30,000 to buy new furnishings, and the Graduate and Professional Student Senate is funding three new student computer workstations.

The women's center staff will be relocated to Room 0355 in the Memorial Union on May 10, and director Penny Rice said she hopes to be back in Sloss House when students return in the fall. The center's phone numbers will be forwarded to the temporary location, but a fax number will not be available.

"I hope it preserves the space," Rice said. "It's a home. So many people say, 'It's like going to my grandma's house.' It's the warmth and the comfort."

History of the house

Only two other campus buildings are older than Sloss House -- Farm House (1860) and Laboratory of Mechanics (1882). Built in 1883, it served primarily as a faculty and staff residence until 1969, but also housed the Delta Zeta sorority for one year (1937-38) and was used as a home management house by home economics seniors from 1938-47. The house is named for long-time buildings and grounds superintendent Thomas Sloss, whose family lived there for 11 years.

Since 1970, the Sloss House has been home to the lectures program and the applied arts, agricultural education and sociology departments. The women's center, which has been housed in the building since 1980 and the sole occupant since 1986, was named for Thomas Sloss' daughter -- ISU's first female vet med graduate and staff member.