Martindale Hall offers a whole new experience in student housing at Wabash College
There’s no place like home. Fortunately, for students making their home at Wabash College this fall, Martindale Hall offers an all-new concept in student housing – a place that feels like home and at the same time, supports their educational needs with an environment that promotes higher learning, engagement and collaboration with their peers.
Martindale Hall – one of the largest buildings on campus — sits near the center of campus between the campus mall, the Fine Arts Center, which also houses the performance arts, and the stadium. Jay Williams Jr., Wabash College Board member, said the building is situated on the edge of a little valley with four stories visible from the front and five from the back, noting that a building like Martindale Hall couldn’t be built today because of the site restrictions. He said, “It was a perfectly sited building for its time, and we wanted to save it.”
Williams said two of the challenges with this project were HVAC and plumbing. He said while the first two floors had plenty of room for new systems, the upper floors had eight-foot ceilings which didn’t leave much room for the needed mechanical and electrical infrastructure.
Williams said that when the preliminary costs came back much higher than expected, Adriann Rhoades, Wilhelm’s preconstruction manager, brought everyone, including the architects, engineers, College staff, and the key vendors back to the table. He said Rhoades facilitated an all-day discussion in which the group went over every aspect of the building to figure out how to make the project more affordable for Wabash College. “She helped wrestle a lot of the costs out of the project,” Williams said.
F.A. Wilhelm Construction began renovations on the 50-year old building in December 2015 and finished in August, 2016, just in time to welcome new and returning students.
Wilhelm Project Manager Becky Henderson said the project went very well. “Working with the owner and the architect was a really positive experience for everybody,” she said. Williams said he was very impressed with Wilhelm’s work on Martindale Hall and that the project went much smoother than expected in spite of a last minute problem with asbestos abatement. “The difference in attention to detail, speed and focus on this project was dramatic,” he said.
Martindale Hall experienced an incredible transformation from an old, dated building to a new, state-of-the-art residence hall where students study and relax. Henderson is proud of the work and noted “The building has clean lines and is certainly very welcoming”.
To create a more open common area on the first floor, Wilhelm crews removed part of the concrete slab between the first and second floors to create a two-story atrium. The first level now serves as an open living room space with a large, limestone-framed fireplace. Henderson said the façade on the north side of the building opens up to an arboretum where students can “look out onto that space” from several study areas in the building.
Students enjoy a lot of new amenities in their living quarters, too. Instead of the double-rooms typically found in dormitories, many of the 80 students who moved into the all-new Martindale Hall now live in suites that include kitchenettes complete with a sink, refrigerator and microwave.
Wabash College added new student housing last year on the west side of the campus, and the Martindale Hall Revitalization completes the independent housing stock. Williams said until this year, many students were living off campus or in older houses on and off campus. With the new residences, the College is bringing these students closer into campus in first quality housing.
“Martindale Hall now offers students additional options with a building designed for more collaboration and social interaction,” said Henderson. “It’s really changed the student outlook on where they want to live.”
Williams said one of the president’s goals for the Martindale Hall renovation and the construction of the other residences on campus was to bring more students closer to the center of campus. “The energy level of Wabash is dramatically higher, now,” he said. “The kids are more engaged, and they’re enjoying each other.”
“The energy level of Wabash is dramatically higher, now,” he said. “The kids are there, and they’re enjoying each other.”