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One of Cornell College’s oldest buildings undergoing $3.6 million renovation

Project managers say the goal is to keep the history alive in College Hall while adding in a modern feel for students.
Published: Apr. 27, 2021 at 4:12 AM CDT
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MOUNT VERNON, Iowa (KCRG) - A $3.6 million renovation is underway at one of Cornell College’s oldest buildings.

College Hall, originally named “Old Main” was the second academic building on campus. Local craftsmen built the historic building 164 years ago. They worked with professors and students to build the structure.

The college hopes this renovation will give students a more modern experience while learning.

A big asset from the renovation will be adding air conditioning in the building. It will be the first time the building will have it.

Project managers say temperatures could sometimes be 60 degrees warmer upstairs than in the basement. They say it will provide more comfort for everyone inside the classrooms.

President of Cornell College, Jonathan Brand, says it was time to create a space for the next generation of students.

“I think when they get in there, in class, together in a restored, beautiful air conditioned building, I think it will only enhance their feelings of being back in class,” Brand said.

Brand says a new finance lab with state of the art technology will be the gem of the building. It will feature a stock ticket like those used on Wall Street for students to gain real experience with.

Besides adding air conditioning, all classrooms will have new audio and visual equipment. The project will also include renovated bathrooms and updated ADA accessible entries.

Since about one third of the college’s staff work in the building, project managers say the iconic building was due for an update.

Cornell College Construction Project Manager, Scott Ladwig, says it cost around $1 million to add air conditioning in the building.

“We’re not only bringing the mechanics and the air conditioning into this building, but we’re also taking the technology one step forward and blending it into this historic building,” Ladwig said.

He says the goal is to keep the history alive in College Hall while adding in a modern feel for students.

Renovations should be complete by the end of July and ready to go for block one in the Fall. The college is also just getting started on a $19.5 million Sports Center expansion and renovation.

The new finance lab will feature a financial ticker board anchored to the ceiling that will...
The new finance lab will feature a financial ticker board anchored to the ceiling that will continuously stream asset prices, currencies, and other financial information to create the feel of a trading room.(Cornell College)

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