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Northwestern University
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Rejuvenating Kresge Hall

In its first major renovation in 60 years, Kresge Hall will be completely gutted and updated. Educational space will be centralized on the first and second floors. Office and support space will be consolidated in the upper floors.

Few buildings on campus have as much power to evoke the past as Kresge Centennial Hall. With its cinderblock walls and fluorescent lights, the building has much the same ambiance it did when it opened in 1954. That’s all about to change, as Kresge prepares for its first major facelift in more than a half-century.

A $55 million construction project set to begin in 2014 will see the building completely gutted and renovated. Educational space will be centralized on the first and second floors, and office and support space will be consolidated in the floors above.

A small café will be complemented by a new “third-space” common area that will promote interaction between students, faculty, staff and visitors. The southeast wing will be demolished and replaced by a five-story addition that will create another 22,500 square feet of space.

“We’re going to create high-tech classrooms and learning centers, modernized studios, and efficient office areas for faculty and staff,” said Joel Trammell, Weinberg College’s associate dean for facilities and planning. “Given the scope of this project, we also have an opportunity to build ­attractive interaction areas to foster a great sense of belonging and community.”

The two-year project will be no small feat. Kresge Hall is one of the most heavily used buildings on campus, housing most of the College’s humanities classes and departments. During construction, all that activity will move to nearby buildings such as Crowe Hall and 1800 Sherman Ave., a large office building in downtown Evanston.

The project follows the renovation of other Weinberg College buildings, including Harris Hall in 2010.

“We’ve done minor renovations to Kresge over the years, but we knew we couldn’t upgrade the building systems without a major renovation,” Trammell said. “We always knew we would renovate Kresge. It was just a matter of time.”

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