Marquette Wire

Historic buildings renovation project nears completion

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Marquette is nearing the end of a roughly $30 million renovation project of the campus’ historic core buildings, including Johnston Hall, Marquette Hall, Sensenbrenner Hall and Coughlin Hall.

“The emphasis of the rejuvenation was to create energy efficient mechanical, plumbing, electrical and information technology infrastructure systems,” said University Spokesman Andy Brodzeller in an email. “In addition, the project focused on improving accessibility while creating more modern and efficient office space.”

This project began in fall 2012 after the Facilities Master Planning Committee, made up of students, faculty and staff, identified the maintenance needs on these buildings as a priority. It has been providing these four buildings that haven’t had restorations since the 1970s with infrastructure upgrades, maintenance and other restorations.

“Renovating and repairing Johnston Hall, Marquette Hall and Sensenbrenner Hall is an investment in the future of this campus,” said then-President Scott Pilarz at the announcement of the renovations. “Our efforts will ensure these three buildings have updated infrastructures, which will allow us to more efficiently use the space available to us to better educate our students.”

As part of this project, Marquette demolished the former legal research library at Sensenbrenner to make room for what is now the open atrium space located at the back of the building. Sensenbrenner also underwent an interior renovation to make room for the main offices and advising center for the College of Arts & Sciences and history department. The third floor of the building will now house teaching assistants and history graduate students after being restored. Landscaping and final site work took place last summer, which Brodzeller said brings the total cost to $9.5 million.

Marquette Hall renovations increased the space for the English, theology and philosophy departments, giving them one shared main office space on the first floor, with faculty offices located on the second, third and fourth floors. Restorations to the first three floors included revamping three large lecture halls and the renovation of the fourth floor. Marquette Hall is the most expensive building of the project, with its total coming in at $10 million in renovation costs.

Marquette upgraded the infrastructure and technology at Johnston Hall, including reinforcing stairwells and an increased bandwidth. Construction included the replacement of mechanical, electrical, plumbing and technology systems. Brodzeller said these renovations totaled $8 million.

Coughlin Hall is undergoing modifications to its second and third floors so it can host the Educational Opportunity Program and received moderate renovations. The cost of these repairs is $2.5 million.

These project costs will be paid through a Marquette bond offering that includes both the issuing of new bonds and the refinancing of existing debt, according to the project announcement. Brodzeller said the design and contract teams worked diligently to find savings and the most efficient way to go about the project.

Johnston Hall is the oldest of Marquette’s buildings and has been standing since 1907. Marquette Hall and Sensenbrenner Hall both recently celebrated their ninetieth birthdays, as Marquette built both buildings in 1924. Coughlin Hall is the youngest of the three buildings and opened for the first time in 1977.

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