Oldest building on campus finds renovation funds

It is official: J. Alvin will be renovated. On Thursday night, President Chip Pollard announced to a crowd of residents gathered in the J. Alvin atrium that renovations will start in May. According to Pollard, an anonymous donor’s donation will pay for $3 Million of the $5 Million estimated cost of renovations, enough for the school to start work in May.

Pollard said the anonymous donor did not give all $5 Million needed because he wanted to give alumni and residents the ‘gift of giving.’

“He really would love if people that lived here give to this project,” said Pollard. “It would be lovely if the current residents of J. Alvin would have a high percentage of [the] … gifts.”

The school will continue to pursue the additional funding needed for the project from alumni, and Residence Life is working on setting up a way for current residents to easily donate to the renovation project.

The renovations will bring J. Alvin up to date with plumbing and ductwork while preserving the suite structure, albeit in a larger form.
“This will bring us up to the national average for student housing,” said Eric Gingerich, the resident director. “It will preserve the ethos of J. Alvin.”

The final plans were not shown to the residents, but instead, there will be an additional meeting in a couple of weeks to show off final renderings of the updated plans. The plans are still in the process of being finalized and will include modifications made from residents’ feedback last semester.

Andre Broquard, director of residence life, said the new plans are “75%-80% the same” as the plans shown in December.

Broquard revealed that final plans will include improvements of the buildings Quad facade, removal of planters in the atrium and a new kitchenette area.

Construction will start after May Term ends with one wing of J. Alvin being gutted and rebuilt by the end of Christmas Break.

At the beginning of next spring semester, the half-capacity residents and furniture will be moved to the new wing and the process will be repeated for the second wing. The final result will be larger rooms and suites, all new plumbing and electrical wiring and more soundproof walls.

J. Alvin capacity will be cut in half during construction, and to offset the loss of capacity, the townhouses will be majority male housing.

The residents who attended the event received the plans positively. The only negative reaction came with the announcement that common showers would be replaced with individual shower stalls being met with boos.

“I’m excited. I really want to be in J. Alvin next year and be a part of history,” said freshman Connor Gooderl. “When I come back … I want to be able to say I was the first in new J. Alvin.”