Multimillion-dollar renovation to transform residence into offices, classrooms and more
The oldest residence at the University of Guelph campus is soon to become the new home for the College of Management and Economics (CME). The Board of Governors has agreed to spend up to $10 million on the renovation, which is set to begin this spring.
The new space will have offices for CME faculty and staff, state-of-the-art classrooms, as well as a home the Centre for Business and Social Entrepreneurship, an organization that gives students the opportunity to work with local businesses and develop plans for their own entrepreneurial ventures.
“We are thrilled that this historic building will become the gateway to business at Guelph,” said Julia Christensen Hughes, the Dean of the College of Management and Economics. She added that, “Macdonald Hall, with its rich history and future potential, is the perfect spot [for the CME].”
Built in 1903, Macdonald Hall is one of the most iconic landmarks on campus and is currently home to 150 female students.
Throughout the years, thousands of students have called this residence home and the transformation will come as a shock to some. However, Christensen Hughes is promising that the transformation will “honour the history and perennial traditions of Macdonald Hall.” It is also hoped that the transformation will help ensure the longevity of the building, which has been showing its age in recent years, having undergone a roof repair and a series of structural upgrades.
University of Guelph student Brittany Manukian welcomes the change, saying that, “in 100 years, its about time Mac underwent a makeover.”
The Macdonald Hall renovation is just one part of the university’s residence strategic plan. The plan includes a major expansion of Lambton Hall as well as the development of single-student spaces among the family residences on College Avenue. Plans are also in the works for a new all-female residence to take the place of Macdonald Hall.
Students currently residing in Macdonald Hall have no need to worry, for the building will remain a residence until renovations are slated to begin in spring. The university has also offered assurances that its remaining residence buildings will be sufficient to accommodate future students until new residences are constructed over the next few years.
In the mean time, the College of Management and Economics will be launching a fundraising campaign to support the renovation and its $10 million budget.