Something is going to happen this Saturday that hasn’t for three decades. Alumni Hall’s doors will be opened and the building once called a “dead elephant” will take another breath.
Our first recommendation as an editorial board is to take the time to tour the building on Saturday. For those of you who have just arrived or missed the coverage of the renovation up to this point, it cannot be overstated that this represents a major milestone toward the renovation of the campus.
The renovation of Alumni Hall was a priority even in president Teresa Amott’s first term at Knox, a little over three years ago. Finally, it is coming to fruition. The opening will stand as a landmark not only for the college and the greater Galesburg community, but also the legacy of Amott.
All else aside, her tireless effort should not be overlooked. Over $11 million was raised for the express purpose of eliminating a void on the campus. For 30 years the shell of Alumni Hall begged the question, which building is next? Keeping the school functional will always be a priority of the administration, but how many structures would need to be sacrificed to keep Knox out of the red?
Luckily, the reopening silences many of these questions. To some, the next line of inquiries seems to focus on asking what else can we modernize. We would like to offer some cautionary words amid the Alumni Hall excitement.
Let us be clear, the renovation is a positive step for Knox. It is a tangible movement toward renewing the facilities of the college. The new space will likely be the first thing prospective students see upon their arrival on campus, and once the exterior of the building catches up with its interior, it will truly be a moving experience.
As easy as it would be to add dormitories, class spaces and even the Aux Gym to the “to be renovated” list, with fundraising efforts no longer devoted to Alumni Hall, we feel that this milestone offers the perfect opportunity to turn toward Knox community instead.
Knox classrooms and labs are useless without the professors that enliven them. Their benefits and salaries– alongside their general well-being– should be the administration’s new priority now that they have caught up on the appearances game. The truth is that the value of your Knox education is tied directly to the professors, mentors and staff that encourage your freedom to flourish. These are the same people that were forced to take cutbacks in retirement benefits in the last couple years to keep Knox afloat.
Alumni Hall should surely be celebrated for the gem on campus that is has become. As Knox moves into its next chapter, we hope to see this gem used as a springboard for gaining more donations that can ultimately go to improving the classroom experience. New facilities are always nice from a marketing perspective, but when we look at our Knox experience it is the time we have spent learning and growing thanks to our mentors that we remember. Ultimately, it must be acknowledged that for all the amenities we would like to see, we’ll always be better off when the people that inspire the Knox spirit are the administration’s priority.