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Founders Hall Dedication to Take Place at North Portico on Quad

(Posted October 12, 2009)

Juniata's newly restored Founders hall will be dedicated Oct. 23 at the North Portico.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Founders Hall, the first building on the current Juniata College campus, built in 1879, will be celebrated and dedicated at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 5 p.m., Friday, Oct. 23.

The ceremony will take place in front of the building's North Portico, which is the newly constructed wing facing the campus quad. The public is welcome to attend.

The Founders Hall renovation, completed for $8.5 million, will have a grand opening for the college community on Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 30-Nov.1.

The ceremony will open with remarks by David Andrews, chair of the Juniata board of trustees and attorney with the Altoona, Pa.-based law firm Andrews and Beard. Thomas R. Kepple, president of Juniata, will speak and then ask that the building be accepted by representatives of Juniata's alumni, faculty and students.

Linda Wachsmuth McKonly, a homemaker and community volunteer from New Castle, Pa., will speak in her capacity as chair of the Founders Hall fund-raising Campaign. McKonly is a 1973 Juniata graduate. Henry H. Gibbel, a 1957 Juniata graduate and president, CEO and director of the Lititz Mutual Insurance Co., will speak on behalf of the graduating classes of the 1950s, all of which raised significant funds to help complete the Founders project. David Hsiung, Knox Professor of History, will speak on behalf of the Juniata faculty, and Sarah Davis, a junior from Chevy Chase, Md. studying English and secondary education will accept the building on behalf of Juniata's students.

Founders Hall's refurbishment features environmentally conscious technology, yet many of the building's signature features remain. The iconic central tower was completely gutted and reinforced with a steel superstructure and stairway. A new fountain, located just a few steps from the Founders tower door has been installed. In addition, an outdoor amphitheater space, situated between Founders and the von Liebig Center for Science, is an outdoor classroom space or gathering place.

The new section of Founders Hall, the former north wing, which had become structurally unsound, was completely deconstructed and a new wing as built in its place. The new construction is connected to the historic east-west wing of the building by a modernist glass transition space that houses the building's restrooms, stairways and the elevator.

Founders' restoration was designed by Street Dixon Rick Architects of Nashville, Tenn., and the firm has emphasized "green design." The Founders Project has been built as a LEED-certified building. LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a certification by the United States Green Building Council.

Juniata will seek a LEED Silver designation for Founders. LEED certification is the nationally recognized standard for measuring building sustainability. The LEED system offers four levels of certification -- Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum -- that correspond to the number of credits earned in five categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality.

In addition to the administrative functions of the building, classes will once again be taught in Founders Hall. Four classrooms and a handful of seminar rooms will allow Juniata faculty from all departments to utilize the college's newest classroom spaces.

The newly restored building houses the college's development offices on the first, or ground, floor. The second floor houses the registrar's office, the dean of students' office and the academic support services offices, as well as the office for the vice president of finance and operations. The third floor features the offices of the president and the provost, as well as the offices housing the history faculty. The English department offices will occupy the fourth floor.

Student lounges and conference rooms will be housed in a glass-enclosed "tower" space on the east end of the restored original wing that replaces a former brick stairway enclosure.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.