Iowa State University rededicated Morrill Hall Friday, a landmark building rich with history. But the building that was the second ever constructed on the Ames campus, was not in good shape after being closed down in 1998. Kerry Dixon-Fox oversaw the renovation, and says the problems started with one portion of flat roof on the building.
Dixon-Fox says the roof drain had gotten broken and there were 18 inches of water that seeped into the buildings and the plaster was peeling off, papers were left behind and scattered all over. She says one room was affectionately called "Jumanji" as the ivy outside had grown through the window, down the wall and up the ceiling. Dixon-Fox says they did find the main support structures were okay. She says they did an extensive study of the exterior and the structure and consultants said it was sound. They started the renovation in 2003.
Dixon-Fox says 96-percent of the bricks on the outside of the building were saved. Dixon-Fox says they didn’t want to replace all the bricks because they contain a lot of history. She says in the arch of the east entrance of the building, there are brick were people have carved their initials. Dixon-Fox says they had to have 20 different brick shapes handmade in the Carolinas. Dixon-Fox says they couldn’t restore the interior of the building to its original setup, because there are new uses for the space.
She says the inside of the building is completely different, while the outside follows the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s standards as closely as possible for the outside. The renovation cost just over 10-Million dollars, with some extra cost for special climate controlled rooms for two museums that’ll be in the building. Dixon-Fox says reusing the building was a better option than tearing down the old balding and starting over.
Dixon-Fox says they would have generated a ton of waste and used a lot of energy to tear down the old building. She says they reused the entire wood structure, wood and steel that didn’t have to be harvested or manufactured. Dixon-Fox says the renovation also preserved a valuable piece of history for the school. They hope to gain a certification as a building that meets federal environmental and energy design goals later this year.