University Hall acknowledges past as it houses students preparing for future

August 24, 2009

Once again, the mission of University Hall will be for the education of students.

The College of Education has moved into what was once Indiana State University's Laboratory School after almost $30 million renovation to that building.

University, community, alumni and students can explore the renovated former lab school from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 9 during an open house and attend the formal dedication at 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 10. The dedication of Leadership Hall within University Hall is scheduled for 2-5 p.m. on Sept. 12.

Brad Balch, College of Education dean, said the renovated building is a tribute to the teaching that took place in University Hall during the 50 years it served children.

"As one walks through this newly renovated building, you'll feel that clinical pedagogy coming through, a real commitment to our K-12 partners, micro-teaching that reflect the K-12 environment and ample opportunities to invite into our University Hall our K-12 partners so they have opportunities to reflect on their work and grow from it as well," he said.

Though the building has the latest technology, it pays homage to its past with arched doorways and original stairwells, along with restored murals by Gilbert Wilson. The building was constructed during the 1930s for $1 million and is listed on the Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Archeology's historic sites and structures list.

Renovation work began in June 2007 with the demolition of the building's interior. Faculty and staff moved into the renovated building in mid July this year.

Now, University Hall will be the location where the next generation of teachers and administrators are prepared for the field.

Thirteen classrooms along with offices for faculty and staff fill the space, which has a glass-enclosed atrium that serves as focal point for the building. With seating niches flowing between classrooms and offices, officials think there will be plenty of space for incidental learning.

"Our students, both undergraduate and graduate, tell us that it's not always in the classroom where the most powerful learning occurs," Balch said. "It's those chance interactions in the hallways or in a professor's office where they have opportunities to reflect one on one with their graduate or undergraduate program opportunities. We are ensuring that throughout this building there's intimate, professional space for those chance interactions and some powerful learning opportunities that our students tell us were so important to their experience at ISU."

ISU officials think the newly renovated building, which includes an auditorium, will become a symbol of the university while it honors its traditions of the past.

"This will probably be the showcase of Indiana State University as far as buildings," said Steve Culp, ISU construction manager. "It has so many opportunities for education value, for community service value and for theatrics, speakers and tours. It accommodates so many more things than what we have in any current building on campus."

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