Carnegie Hall renovations to affect six departments

Carnegie Hall. Photo courtesy of google images.

Anna Mann
Executive Editor

New details have emerged concerning the University’s plan to renovate Carnegie Hall. According to Terry Papillon, Dean of the College and professor of classical languages, the departmental moves are projected to begin as soon as May 2019 with the movement of the photography lab to Wiggins Hall.

The post-graduation move starts what Papillon calls “dominoes,” or the relocation of six separate offices and departments to and from the Carnegie building. Affected offices will include the Sewanee Volunteer Fire Department (SVFD), Career and Leadership Services, the Office of Global Citizenship, and the philosophy, economics, and photography departments.  

According to Papillon, the committee for the Carnegie move will engage with architects about the renovations in January and February of 2019 with a goal of opening the building back up in the summer of 2020. The faculty currently in Carnegie will be placed in temporary quarters for the entirety of the 2019-2020 school year.

When Papillon began as dean in 2014, he expressed a desire to “co-locate,” or group together, departments that were otherwise spread throughout campus. He explained that if the faculty of a department occupy a building or a specific floor, then both students and staff feel as if they have a “center” to their studies and interactions.

With this in mind, the economics department moved partially into the first floor of Carnegie in the summer of 2016. However, Papillon states that the department waited until the University could secure funds for the renovation before attempting to move the rest of the faculty into the building.

With funds now secured from the Capital Campaign, the philosophy and photography departments will move out from their positions on the second floor. Career and Leadership Development, the Office of Global Citizenship, and the economics department will move into the first, third, and second floors respectively.

Though the philosophy department could not be reached for comment, Papillon explained that when offered three options, they chose to move into the current Career and Leadership Development building.

Though Papillon stressed that many of these plans were in the preliminary stages and subject to change, he did state that the photography lab will move to Wiggins in order to be closer to the studio art department in the Nabit Art Building.

As to the displacement of the students on the SVFD, he said, “We’ve been working through the summer and the fall with the firefighters about where we could find a place that would be good. It is important to recognize that they need a space to be together and be able to process what they experience together.”

All the departmental moves come from a desire to buoy activity on University Avenue around where the new Social Commons will be built on the site of Thompson Union. Papillon explained that the University’s renovation of Carnegie hall stems from the wider 2011 Master Plan and the 2012 Strategic Plan to “reinvigorate the Quad.” The changes connect with the three new commons coming to Sewanee’s campus in the coming years: the University Wellness Commons, the Social Commons, and the already established Learning Commons.

Papillon stated that a large part of the moves were to accommodate a center of integrated advising. This would entail Career and Leadership Development expanding their existing program to tackle both academic and scholastic advising in a single place in order to “reinvigorate and integrate the advising program.”

“A student in their first year is going to be asked to think about how they want to handle their four years here and their time after here,” clarified Paillon. “We want kids to think about their four years in a more conscious and intentional way.”

Student trustee Malicat Chouyouti (C’20), who is on the Carnegie renovation committee, agreed with Papillon’s optimistic view of the renovations, saying, “It looks like the departmental moves will mean accessibility to students. As far as Career and [Leadership Development] moving closer to campus, the committee hopes that will get students to come receive help more frequently because it is closer on campus. For the rest of the departments, it seems like it is providing students and faculty with more resources from the expansion.”