Renovations bring new life to the heart of the BGSU campus

A new classroom space will be built in the space above what used to be the Eva Marie Saint Theatre in University Hall.


BG Independent News

To get a good view of the future of Bowling Green State University, all you have to do is arrange a tour of two of its oldest buildings.

That will require donning a hard hat since University Hall, which opened in 1915 and Moseley Hall, which opened in 1916, are both construction sites. And it takes a little imagination to see what the future holds in the haze of dust, walls stripped to bare stone, metal girders and even gaping empty sections.

Still a year from now, these buildings will welcome students, and prospective students, to their lives as Falcons.

Brian Swope, assistant director of office of construction and design, said it was an honor to be involved in turning some of “the university’s iconic structures” into “dynamic and innovative educational spaces.”

Among those at work on the projects are a number of graduates from BGSU’s construction management program.

That desire to blend the new and the old means preserving some signature features. The marble staircase in University Hall will be refurbished. And the building will get a new entry on the east side with a facade that will be in the style of the existing façade.

University Hall will house the admissions office on the second floor. What was the front of the Eva Marie Saint Theatre will be turned into a large presentation space for admissions, said Steve Krakoff, vice president, capital planning and campus operations.

The lower floors will house a number of offices to help students, including study abroad programs and service learning programs. The upper floors will have classrooms spaces, and small conference rooms. One of the largest classrooms on campus will be built on the third floor, in the former fly space for the theaters. It will look out across campus to the east.

Because of this dual use, Krakoff said, prospective students will get, within this one building, a vivid sense of the BGSU experience. “If you only had one hour to spend on campus, this would be the building you’d want to spend it in.”

The work has also revealed some elements of the past, including a fireplace in the former president’s office.

These, however, will disappear again as the walls are finished.

For all their historic charms, both buildings had shown their age before being closed for renovations. Krakoff said University Hall was “the hottest building in summer, and the hottest building in winter.”

Because of such problems, both were incredibly underutilized,” Krakoff said.

The reborn Moseley Hall will return to having a key role in education at BGSU.

Construction underway inside Moseley Hall.

Construction underway inside Moseley Hall.

Moseley will return to its former role as a center of science education on campus. The laboratory-classrooms will serve the introductory level courses in biology, chemistry and forensic science. “We’re putting the emphasis on first- and second-year undergraduates,” said John Fischer, vice provost for academic affairs.

Those courses will be both for science majors and for students in other majors fulfilling science requirements.

That means a significant percentage of BGSU students will at some point have a course in Moseley Hall.

Part of the updating will be the installation of an elevator.

As in other buildings being renovated, Moseley will have informal gathering spaces incorporated into its design, Fischer said.

Krakoff said that discussions are just beginning about how to upgrade the facilities at Overman Hall and the Physical Science Building. Faculty needs to be pulled together to decide how to proceed with improving facilities for third and fourth year undergraduates and graduate students.

The third building in the line of Traditions Buildings, Hanna Hall, is slated to be renovated with a new eastern facade as the new home for the School of Business.

A tree-lined walkway will be created to prove an entryway into the university’s academic core.

John Fischer, Brian Swope and Steve Krakoff inside University Hall.

John Fischer, Brian Swope and Steve Krakoff inside University Hall.