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Renovations and Restorations

Building a better Hollins

The following projects are under way or were completed on campus.


Career Center Hollins Career Center Makeover Blends New Technology with an Inviting Space

The Hollins Career Center is featuring a fresh new look and greater functionality, thanks to the generosity of an alumna trustee. Renovations to the center's first floor location in West Building, made possible by the financial support of Linda Lorimer '74 and Charley Ellis, were completed in conjunction with the beginning of Spring Term 2013. While new furniture, artwork and wall colors give the center warmth (thanks to the design expertise of Elaine Stephenson ’83), the latest technology offers students access to a wide range of career-related activities and resources.

In the reception area, visitors can get interview advice, tips on business etiquette, and other valuable information to assist them in a job or internship search by watching original programming produced by CareerSpots.com. In another part of the center, students have access to personal computers where they can conduct career research. A third area is dedicated to presentations and workshops that incorporate video support, and another room is set up for students to participate in online job and internship interviews via Skype.

The improvements build upon the comprehensive array of services the Career Center already provides, including career counseling, assessment tools, and access to Hollins' Career Advising Network, a worldwide group of alumnae, friends, and parents who are willing to speak to students about career-planning strategies and answer questions about their own professional development and the job market in their particular cities.
Bradley Hall

Plans Announced to Make Talmadge Hall Handicap Accessible

Talmadge Recital Hall, located on the second floor of Bradley Hall, Hollins' fifth-oldest structure built in 1883, has served the community as both a chapel and currently as the music department’s recital hall. In 1977 the space was named to honor Arthur Sackett Talmadge, a beloved Hollins professor who taught music from 1936 until 1969. Over the years the space has been the venue for student and faculty recitals, master classes, and guest artist performances. While acoustically desirable, the recital hall is not accessible for individuals who are confined to a wheelchair or unable to climb stairs.

In order to accommodate an ever-growing audience for campus music offerings, plans are under way to make the building handicapped accessible. The project is estimated to cost $430,000.

Rose Hill Historic Rose Hill First to be Renovated into Student Residence

The Hill Houses—Carvin, Rath House, Sandusky, Rose Hill, French House, Duchouquet, Malvern Hill, Eastnor, and the Robbie Hunt Burton Alumnae Cottage—have formed an important part of the Hollins community for more than a century. All built between 1885 and 1929, they have served many purposes, from their inaugural use as the first Faculty Row to service as student residences, offices, classrooms, and even the home of Hollins’ presidents.

Wear and tear over the decades, however, has taken its toll, and the trustees faced the decision of whether to renovate the houses or to raze them. There was unanimous agreement to preserve and improve them to create an outstanding neighborhood of student residences, taking advantage of the lovely residential architecture. This initiative, expected to cost $3 million, will restore distinctive spaces for undergraduates and also create air-conditioned residences to support the increasingly important summer programs on campus. Integral to the effort will be new landscaping and walkways to tie the houses together and to link the area to the historic Front Quad.

The first Hill House to be renovated was Rose Hill in summer 2011. Rose Hill was built in 1911 for Ella Rosalie Cocke, the founder’s widowed daughter-in-law. Vacant at the time of renovation, Rose Hill was previously a residence and home to the women’s center, graduate programs, and international programs. It will house 10 students.

Ramp at Moody Student Center New Ramp at Moody Student Center

Thanks to the generous support of The Roanoke Times, the Camp-Younts Foundation, and the Ruth Camp Campbell Charitable Trust, the Moody Student Center at Hollins now has a new handicapped-accessible ramp. Completed in summer 2011, the renovation provided a brick-faced concrete ramp to the entry doors, following the angled brick wall at the north end of the pedestrian plaza area in front of Moody. The renovation significantly improves access to the building, which hosts more than 1,200 campus meetings and events each year.

Constructed in 1976, the Moody Student Center provides a welcoming environment for students and others to come together for meals, socializing, and engaging in extracurricular activities. Improvements to the facility’s main floor were completed in 2000, including an updated kitchen, modern food court, energy-efficient HVAC system, new handicapped-accessible restrooms, and remodeled dining area to offer a more inviting atmosphere for our students and guests.
Robbie Hunt Burton Alumnae Cottage

Robbie Hunt Burton Alumnae Cottage

Thanks to a generous gift from an anonymous alumna, Hollins has renovated the Robbie Hunt Burton Alumnae Cottage with the hope of earning certification by the U.S. Green Building Council under their Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building program. If successful, the cottage, built in 1905, will become Hollins’ first LEED certified building.

The cottage, which has been in dire need of repairs for several years, features the first geothermal heating and cooling system on campus, low-maintenance building materials, many with recycled content, and high-energy efficient appliances. Other green features include:

  • Regionally sourced building materials
  • Rapidly renewable building materials, including bamboo flooring, cabinet faces, and a computer desk
  • Low volatile organic compound paints, stains, sealants, and caulk used throughout
  • Wood panel products with no added urea formaldehyde
  • Water conservation through low-flow plumbing fixtures and rainwater collection for use in surrounding lawn and garden

The cottage houses three guest bedrooms and three bathrooms, a lounge, and a fully equipped kitchen. Interior design puts the alumnae cottage on par with Barbee Guest House, providing additional guest housing during the academic year and much-needed housing for summer faculty.

Theatre rigging

Theatre Renovation

Hollins is embarking on a comprehensive renovation of its theatre, thanks to a $3 million commitment from the James S. McDonnell Family Foundation. Hollins will receive $1 million annually from the foundation over the next three years, beginning in 2009.

Based in Lincoln, Massachusetts, the James S. McDonnell Family Foundation is named for the noted aviation pioneer and founder of McDonnell Aircraft Corporation, which later became McDonnell Douglas Corporation. McDonnell’s daughter-in-law, Elizabeth Hall McDonnell ’62, currently serves on the university’s Board of Trustees. Her husband, James S. McDonnell III, is a member of the foundation’s board of directors.

"Renovating our theatre is one of our most pressing needs," said President Nancy Gray. "This support will enable us to take the first steps to transform theatre programming and other performing arts offerings on campus."

The following improvements are among those the gift will fund:

  • Replacement of stage rigging with a new electric rigging system above the stage for hanging lights, scenery, and drapery. (completed, see photos)
  • Upgrades to HVAC and electrical systems, including air conditioning for the entire building.
  • New light coves flanking the stage, blackout shades, and updated lighting.
  • New paint and carpeting for the theatre’s interior.
  • A new sprinkler system and rear fire stair.
  • Increased accessibility, including the addition of an automatic door opener and making the lobby and theatre annex restrooms handicapped accessible.
  • Flood control to address periodic flooding of the theatre annex basement.

Renovations and restorations at Hollins

New Boiler and Cooling Tower

Some give money to Hollins to name a scholarship, professorship or faculty chair, building, room, or road. Trees and gardens, benches and bridges have plaques bearing the donors' names. But how do you interest donors in the less glamorous things, such as heating and cooling units, that need to be installed or replaced, the infrastructure projects that are essential but, sadly, not sexy?

Fortunately, Miriam "Mim" Hayllar Farmakis '67 and her husband, Tom, heard former Hollins Vice President for Finance and Administration Richard Alvarez wax poetic about a new boiler for Hollins that not only would supply heat and hot water to the campus but would also provide large-scale environmental benefits and pay for itself in reduced energy costs within two years. They said, "That's where we want to put our money." The Farmakises understand the importance of funding infrastructure needs and hope others will follow their lead.

On the other end of the HVAC spectrum is Starr Moore '68, an Atlanta jewelry designer and building contractor, who agreed to fund a new chilled-water cooling tower used to cool and provide humidity control to many buildings on campus. This project involved taking down the old, inefficient cooling tower in front of the Richard Wetherill Visual Arts Center and constructing a new one near the power house, thus eliminating the need to repair failed water lines that ran deep underground from the power house across the parking lot to the old tower. The new tower is an energy- and cost-efficient solution to a long-deferred maintenance need that also removes a significant eyesore.

Both alumnae were happy to give their financial support to these projects that, although not glamorous, will deliver great benefits to Hollins students, the university's bottom line, and the environment.

Renovations and restorations at Hollins

Turner Hall

Through the generosity of the Dickson Foundation, the Marietta McNeill Morgan and Samuel Tate Morgan, Jr. Foundation, the Priddy Challenge Grant Fund for Capital Improvements, and several individual donors, Turner Hall recently benefited from a facelift that included:

  • Addition of a first floor porch with a red metal roof and white columns, creating a new main entrance to Turner from the Front Quadrangle.
  • Modern climate control.
  • New carpeting, lighting, and interior and exterior paint.
  • Roof replacement using reflective material.
  • ADA improvements, including a ramp and a lift to facilitate accessibility to the building's lower level.
  • Landscaping between Turner Hall and the Richard Wetherill Arts Center.

Turner Hall currently houses the university's humanities programs, the education department, Hollins Abroad, and other international learning programs, and student health services. The renovation enhanced the facility's more contemporary design to complement adjacent buildings on Hollins' historic Front Quadrangle.

Renovations and restorations at Hollins

Bradley Hall

The support of individual donors and a grant from the Roller-Bottimore Foundation enabled Hollins to renovate the lower level of historic Bradley Hall to serve as the new home of the cocurricular Batten Leadership Institute. The Batten Leadership Institute moved into the refurbished facility in summer 2007. The refurbished building will also provide a wonderful setting in which to expand leadership programming across the academic curriculum, including the new Certificate in Leadership Studies for undergraduate women. Hollins students participating in our leadership programs will benefit from an environment that offers:

  • Modern climate control.
  • New carpeting, flooring, and interior paint.
  • Acoustic ceiling tile.
  • Updated lighting, fans, and ceilings.
  • Fire alarm and sprinkler systems.

Enhancements to Bradley's lower level brought it up to date with the second floor of the facility, which houses Talmadge Recital Hall and attracts guests to campus for public performances and workshops.

Renovations and restorations at Hollins

Presser Hall

Music instruction at Hollins University takes place in historic Presser Hall, built in 1925 through the generosity of Theodore Presser, who taught music at Hollins from 1880 to 1883. One of the premier music educators of his day, Presser founded the Music Teachers National Association, The Presser Foundation, and the Theodore Presser Publishing Company, the oldest independent music publisher in the United States.

The music facility on the Hollins campus is unique among the existing Presser Halls in that it is the very first of the Presser music buildings, constructed under Theodore Presser's personal authorization and completed during his lifetime.

The generous support of devoted alumnae, several foundations, and friends of the university enabled us to fully restore Presser Hall, including:

  • Updated classrooms and expanded practice areas
  • An electronic piano laboratory
  • Modern climate control and acoustical treatment
  • A new seminar room and a new department lounge
  • An elevator and other accessibility improvements
  • Reconfiguration of the Erich Rath Music Library's collection of more than 15,000 sound recordings, scores, and volumes for reference and study
  • The McGehee Media Room, adjacent to the library, holds state-of-the-art media equipment and seating

The rededication of Presser Hall was on Thursday, February 22, 2007, as part of Hollins' annual Founder's Day celebration.

Renovations and restorations at Hollins

Beale Garden Restoration

The Beale Garden was established in 1930 to honor Hollins alumna Lucy Preston Beale, Class of 1864. It was restored under the direction of The Garden Club of Virginia, who officially presented a rejuvenated Lucy Preston Beale Memorial Garden to Hollins at a ceremony on October 18, 2006. The garden will be open annually during The Garden Club of Virginia's Historic Garden Week.

The restoration began in October 2005 adhering to the landscape plan used by A.A. Farnham in 1930. William D. Rieley of Rieley and Associates of Charlottesville served as the landscape architect. The restoration, as directed by The Garden Club of Virginia, included:

  • Replacing the crumbling stone wall and steps to duPont Chapel and resurfacing the chapel terrace
  • Replacing the large boxwoods on the terrace with small flowering trees
  • Providing a view from the chapel into the garden
  • Channeling the stream with larger stones and native plants
  • Adding two new footbridges
  • Re-establishing walking paths within the garden's original circular plan

Renovations and restorations at Hollins

Swannanoa Hall (formerly Starkie House and West Annex)

Hollins received a gift of $1.27 million to renovate Starkie House from a residential hall to a new home for the English and creative writing department. The building has been renamed Swannanoa Hall in honor of Swannanoa Horne Priddy, Hollins Class of 1911. Robert and Ruby Priddy of Wichita Falls, Texas, presented the gift in tribute to Mr. Priddy's mother.

The renovation included:

  • Developing office space, classrooms, and seminar areas for the English and creative writing department
  • Upgrading the building's electrical system to provide air conditioning
  • Increasing accessibility within the facility with an elevator and other improvements
  • Refinishing the wood floors, painting rooms, and replacing hallway carpeting
  • Repairing and updating the steam heat distribution system
  • Repairing and strengthening the building's envelope and structure

The renovation is complete, and dedication of Swannanoa Hall was on April 21, 2006.