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Around the Columns

Switzler, Tate reopen for business

Tate Hall

Dan Dodd, an Ellis Library employee, takes in the view from a large window on the third floor of the recently renovated Tate Hall. Photo by Shane Epping

After receiving their first-ever renovations, two of Mizzou’s oldest academic buildings have reopened for business.

Tate and Switzler halls received overhauls, including new plumbing and electrical systems, central air conditioning and wall-to-wall carpeting. Funded by $19 million in bond revenue approved by the University of Missouri Board of Curators in 2009, the renovations added 280 new classroom seats and 34 faculty offices.

The four-story brick-and-stone Tate Hall, built just southeast of Jesse Hall in 1927 to house the law school, is now home to the Department of English. The building was gutted to reconfigure its interior space, including removal of the two-story law library “stacks.” Light fixtures and items such as handrails, cornice work and interior trim from the original structure were reused. (Click here for a slide show of historic photos and construction details.)

The Switzler project includes an 8,000-square-foot addition on the southwest side of the building. The north interior wall of the addition features the original exterior wall, which architects left exposed for aesthetic reasons.

More than 30 of MU’s core academic buildings need renovations, at a projected cost of more than $500 million. Gary Ward, vice chancellor for facilities, says the Tate and Switzler projects represent a new model of sustainability and financial stewardship that maximizes resources in tough budget times.

“Everything we did was so we could bring a taxpayer or a parent into the building and they could be proud of what we’re trying to do with their dollars,” Ward says. “Everything looks very nice, but there is nothing over the top. It’s Sheetrock, paint, vinyl base and new carpet.”

Ward says he will use the same approach when renovations begin next year on Gwynn Hall for the College of Human Environmental Sciences.