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Carnegie Hall renovation reveals architectural features, furnishings
7/07/14

A renovation of Carnegie Hall, Alfred University’s administration building on Main Street, is having some serendipitous results.

The University learned in March that air quality tests done in the 100-year-old building indicated moderate levels of mold existed in a few parts of the building. As a precautionary measure, all employees were temporarily relocated to other offices on the campus to allow for remediation and elimination of mold and any asbestos materials that might be disturbed during the process of renovating the building.

As the work progressed, the partitions that had been installed when the building was remodeled in the mid-1960s when it was converted from a library to an office building, were removed. And what was revealed, said Michael Neiderbach, executive director of capital projects for the University, were the colonnades that were a feature of the original library design.

Some of the original library furnishings, including the desk, a plant stand and a few of the tables, are now in the University archives, said Laurie McFadden ’91, University archivist.

“We are fortunate because they were not removed, just covered up,” said Neiderbach. Only one appears to be damaged, and it can be restored. The colonnades, along with the original glass transom windows, are “historic architectural details” that will be included in the restoration plans for the building.

“We no longer have the original plans,” said Neiderbach, but there are some interior photos taken before the renovation that will serve as a guide for the restoration, he said. Architectural plans for the work will be developed once the building has been gutted.

While the historic details will be restored, other less-than-desirable features of the building – like the antiquated heating and ventilating system – will be replaced with heat pumps that will allow occupants to control the temperature in each room individually. “It’s flexible, and highly efficient,” said Neiderbach, who estimates that heating and cooling costs for the building can be reduced by at least 40 percent.

The building will also be made more accessible with the installation of an elevator.

The ground floor of the building houses Business and Finance offices, including those of the controller and the vice president, and the second floor contains the offices of President Charles M. Edmondson and Provost W. Richard Stephens.  The third floor has been vacant, and will contain the mechanical systems for the building, rather than additional office space, once the restoration is complete.

The project is expected to take at least six months to complete.