September 24: A Celebration of Arts and Humanities, Remodel of Second-Oldest Building at Southern Utah University, Unveiled Brand New South Hall IntroducedAugust 12, 2003
Author: Renee Ballenger
Southern Utah University is proud to present the remodeled Braithwaite Building, the New South Hall, and a refurbished music hall to the public during a Celebration of Arts and Humanities on Thursday, September 24.
The Braithwaite Building, named after the longest-reigning president of the Cedar City institution, Royden Braithwaite, is the second oldest building (1904) on campus, only younger to Old Main. Recently, the Braithwaite was determined to be in need of remodeling to meet seismic requirements.
It was a meticulous and fascinating process. Exterior brick and mortar were restored to almost-original condition. In fact the mortar is now better than originally, because it has been better matched to the strength of the bricks to decrease the crumbling caused by aging mortar.
As aesthetic as it appeared, it was necessary to remove the ivy from the side of the Braithwaite Building. The infiltrating vine was actually destroying the integrity of the brick. In fact, Alice Braithwaite, Royden’s wife, took weaving classes in the Braithwaite for 15 years. She remembers that the students weren’t the only things weaving; the ivy was actually weaving its way through the fortification into the walls of the classrooms!
Still, except for new doors and steps on the east side, and a door added to the west side, the structure has remained unchanged.
Additionally, the Building is surrounded by some elaborate gardens full of a variety of plants from strawberries to roses.
The upgraded Braithwaite Building will be home to the English Department’s faculty offices, classrooms, writing lab, and to the Braithwaite Fine Arts Gallery.
Because it happened so fast, not many people realize that the old South Hall was demolished and replaced with an eye catching, brand New South Hall—all in just four months time! SUU President Bennion refers to New South Hall as the Old Main of the 21st Century, because like Old Main, New South Hall was constructed in an amazingly short amount of time, due to the model cooperation of several parties.
During a visit to campus last year, the Division of Facilities and Construction Management (DFCM) determined it would no longer be able to put money into the maintenance of the old South Hall building because of its age and a short-of-modern-day-code condition. However, it did see the situation as an opportunity to test what it believed to be an exciting new program that would produce quick, solid results in the most economical and efficient manner. SUU’s New South Hall proves these beliefs as fact. A new building would have not been possible for years to come if not for this DFCM program.
This project in particular was a challenge because of the many people and programs
housed in the South Hall and adjacent Art building, and the inconvenience to them in order to accommodate the unusually-fast building schedule. Some of the greatest cooperation came from many individuals across campus who had to move their offices and class meeting locations without much notice. Class schedules actually had to be rearranged in the middle of the semester in order to take advantage of this special offer!
Sacrifice, compromise, flexibility, and the ability to see the "big picture," were given by several parties.
These characteristics, and the beautiful New South Hall, as well as the Braithwaite Building and an upgraded Thorley Recital Hall in the nearby Music Building, will all be appreciated at the Celebration of Arts and Humanities, on Wednesday, September 24, beginning at 4 p.m. on the campus’ Upper Quad (the grassy area to the east of the Braithwaite Building).
The Public is cordially invited to join in this Celebration.