With five of the ten million dollars pledged to rebuilding Alumni Hall, President Teresa Amott is beginning to create a plan for what to put into the building.
The current plan, which is subject to change, places the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid and several other student service programs in the building. In addition, several classrooms, a visitor’s center detailing the history of Knox and the Galesburg community and other elements are still to be decided.
“At this moment,” Amott said, “the visitor’s center, Alumni Relations, Admissions and Financial Aid, Center for Global Studies, the Center for Research and Advanced Study, the Center for Career and Pre-Professional Development [and] the Center for Community Service [are all planned to go into the building]. And then there will be classrooms and meeting rooms and other kinds of spaces.”
Her top objective since assuming office, Amott was incredibly happy to have raised half of the money in only six months.
“I’m pretty gratified by the response to the project,” she said.
The key piece of the building will be the visitor’s center, featuring “museum quality” exhibits detailing the history of Knox and the city of Galesburg as well as history of Abraham Lincoln at Knox and the trains that frequent the city.
“We got federal and state money to stabilize the building,” Amott said, “on the grounds that [we] would provide access to the public for education and museum quality exhibits about history.”
Several Knox students have praised Amott’s efforts for securing the funds quickly and efficiently.
“I think it’s really important that she’s so dedicated to this,” freshman Devin Hanley said. “It’d be a shame to see the building go to waste.”
Senior Jenna Temkin believes that although she will not be able to experience Alumni Hall, she is glad that future Knox students will be able to use the building to their advantage.
“I remember taking a tour as a prospective student thinking, why is that building empty?” she said.
As for what students want to see put into the building, their thoughts were as diverse as the tentative plans for the building itself.
“I think the only thing I’d be interested in is performing arts in the big theater in there,” junior Ricky Barbieri said, noting the fabled auditorium in the building.
When asked about plans for the stage, Amott said that it was “gone.”
“We don’t need a 500-seat auditorium that we would use 50 times a year,” she said. “If we were just to take up a huge amount of space with the auditorium, then nothing on campus could move into the building, and that’s not a good use of our space, frankly.”
Amott did describe plans for a 125-seat multipurpose room allowing for flexible seating. While the auditorium might be gone, performing arts at Alumni Hall is not ruled out, which might be enough for some students.
“If it can be used as another place for student presentations, I think it’d be a cool function,” sophomore Ivan Keta* said.
As for the tentative plans of putting the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid and other organizations in Alumni Hall, students were torn as to whether or not they believed it was the right course of action.
“All the business offices won’t be spread out,” freshman Sam Marin said.
Freshman Nicole Baldino, on the other hand, does not want to see the building used for just “boring” offices.
“Some other function would be nice,” she said.
One student, while happy to have the building back, questioned whether or not Alumni Hall is what Knox should be focusing on.
“It’s nice to see money towards the building,” junior David Lucas said. “But at the same time, it’d be nice to see money going towards teachers’ salaries and other things.”
Questions of other issues aside, Amott’s current schedule calls for construction to commence in January 2013, with the project to be completed at some point during the summer of 2014.
“In a perfect world,” Amott said, “the class that enters in the September of 2014 would have the building.”
After so much inactivity, freshman Allison Davis summed up many people’s thoughts, regardless of what ultimately ends up in Alumni Hall.
“Any progress is progress,” she said.
*Ivan Keta is a columnist for The Knox Student