A Call to Action featured project Old Main
Renovations and restorations to Old Main will be the center of the campaign’s focus during the upcoming months. Estimated at between $10 and $13 million, the Old Main project will be an important stage in the history of the building and of the entire Augustana campus for which it is the masthead. With enough and generous support from college friends throughout this first part of the public phase, we may begin work on Old Main in 2010, the college’s sesquicentennial year.
This primary academic building was dedicated in 1889, 14 years after the college and seminary moved from Paxton, Illinois to nearly 19 acres of pastureland in Rock Island. In early years, the large stained glass window spanning the second and third floors on the east side of Old Main highlighted a chapel within the building.
Plans include restoring the chapel area to a two-tier forum with a balcony facing east. Classrooms, the Debate Union and the Reading/Writing Center will be updated with teaching and learning technology to accommodate the needs and inspire the minds of modern students. Lounges, meeting and office spaces on all three floors will be redefined to enhance student-faculty relationships, scholarly collaboration and informal learning. Additional student study areas will include a study overlooking the forum. Exterior repairs will address structural damage due to the age of the building, such as tuck pointing and other exterior elements, as well as restoration of Old Main’s iconic dome.
Aside from the academic benefits of restoring this building, the restoration and modernization of Old Main is essential to reinforcing the symbolic equilibrium of learning here at Augustana. In many ways, this historic landmark serves as both the physical and figurative nucleus of the college.