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Alter Hall to close this spring

By andrew koch
On December 9, 2012

After over 50 years of service to Xavier academia, Alter
Hall is closing. No classes will be scheduled in Alter Hall beginning in the spring semester, although no plans have been finalized concerning Alter's demolition. Alter Hall has stood through some crucial moments in Xavier's history, including the University's first enrollment of women as full-time students in 1969, the merger with Edgecliff College in 1980 and Xavier's eastward expansion in the last few decades. Beth Amyot, senior vice president and chief financial officer, cited the inconvenience of repairing recurring maintenance issues associated with the aging infrastructure as factors in the decision to take Alter out of commission. "To date we have been able to remediate the [piping] failures without too much damage. Because additional failures are expected, we want to limit use of Alter Hall," Amyot said in an email. Another factor in the decision was the construction of the Conaton Learning
Commons and the new Williams College of Business
building, which made administrative officials confident that
classes typically held in Alter Hall could be accommodated
by existing facilities. According to Amyot, academic affairs and the financial administration have been using models to project that all necessary classes can be successfully scheduled without using Alter. Alter Hall was constructed
in 1960 as Xavier's primary academic building. It features
over 30 classrooms, three student computer labs and a number of offices, including those of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and of the Center for Adult
and Part-Time Students. Some administrative offices, like those of the Registrar and Bursar, have already relocated
to other buildings on campus. One prominent structure
within Alter Hall that may be difficult to replace is Kelley
Auditorium. The 300-seat lecture hall has traditionally
been used for visiting keynote speakers and large lecture
classes, and few other locations currently on campus can
accommodate such events. According to Amyot, the registrar, deans and physical plant are currently looking for alternative sites for these special circumstances but have not confirmed anything on the matter. As for the building's fate and the construction of a "new Alter," no plans have
been finalized. Amyot says an additional analysis of enrollment projections and the formation of an academic
plan are needed before deciding whether a new classroom
building needs to be constructed and what would be concluded in its design. We want to use our financial
resources wisely and to have the facilities that meet the needs of students and faculty," Amyot said. "With the pressures on our budget and our desire for affordability for
students, it is prudent to allow time for a well-developed
enrollment and academic plan to guide our decisions and investments in facilities." Amyot said that the commission
evaluating Alter's future is open to questions and suggestions.


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