Ohio Wesleyan University, Schooley Caldwell Associates, and Lincoln Construction for the preservation and rehabilitation of Stuyvesant Hall at Ohio Wesleyan University
In 1925 Mr. and Mrs. Frank Stuyvesant of Lakewood, Ohio deeded some valuable land to Ohio Wesleyan University, the sale of which financed construction of a new residence hall to replace the cottage system for housing freshman women. Construction of Stuyvesant Hall commenced in 1930.
The design of the building – in the Georgian Revival Style – included modern amenities like a patio in the rear, a recreation center and ‘date parlors’ as special features of the building. Stuyvesant opened in 1931 with accommodations for 254 women. The rooms were designed as suites, with a bathroom and shower placed between each set of bedrooms, a design that was decades ahead of its time. And, common spaces were included on all floors to help foster a sense of community. For nearly 80 years, Stuyvesant has stood as a grand marker of the residential experience of undergraduate students at Ohio Wesleyan. The building towers over the western end of the residential campus, making a statement about the quality and heritage of the University.
Through the years, the residential patterns at Stuyvesant Hall evolved as they have at most colleges and universities, including the introduction of co-educational residence halls. This change, along with the construction of several new residence halls, led to a move away from Stuyvesant being the primary residence for first-year women.
And even though Stuyvesant Hall continued to be used to meet a number of student centered needs and interests, overall the building received very little attention and the once- grand hall fell into disrepair. After a 2009 re-accreditation report noted the lack of attention paid to residence halls, the Board of Trustees adopted a strategic plan that called for a renewal of residential facilities, with Stuyvesant as the top priority.
Today the entire building has been renovated – top to bottom. Life safety, accessibility, mechanical, security and technology systems have all been significantly upgraded. Bad replacement windows were replaced with energy-efficient windows that help restore the buildings’ historic appearance. The two-room suites have been refurbished, with new bathrooms and individual suite heating and cooling units. The building’s original living room has been updated and made fully accessible. Outside, the building was repaired as needed, the mortar joints repointed, trim painted, and landscaping significantly upgraded.
The exterior of Stuyvesant Hall has the symmetrical and rather formal Georgian Revival look of its day, but the interior is more eclectic – and reflects the “anti-Victorian” movement of the time. The renovation design retains details of the original building, while paint colors have been extracted and adapted from the original to produce spaces that are informed by their history, but are designed for 21st Century students.
Colleges and universities are in a constant state of competition to recruit and retain students. Refurbishing Stuyvesant Hall sets a new standard for Ohio Wesleyan University and it will go a long way towards meeting the University’s goal of improving the quantity and quality of its residential community. This project will help propel the university’s effectiveness as a cultural institution and regional economic engine for the 21st century.
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