Just like new

Lycoming College’s Rich Hall is the oldest residential building on its campus. And, after stripping its interior down to the studs this summer during a renovation, a dedication Wednesday celebrated both the college’s past and its future.

“When I walked into the building this Sunday, I was welcomed by the smell of fresh paint and a beautiful brand-new facility. It was so wonderful to see that through the renovation, we can keep the historic beauty of our past but also improve it for our future,” said Liz Vollman, a senior political science and history major from Cogan Station, who also is a resident of Rich Hall.

“Our campus is evolving, and the changes that we have made to Lycoming this academic year just go to show that change isn’t always a bad thing,” she added.

The building’s interior not only received new drywall and fixtures but also upgrades in the form of plumbing and electrical work.

Dr. Kent Trachte, college president, said work began right after the conclusion of the spring semester this past academic year. Having only 90 days to complete the project, Trachte said the contractors were “quite remarkable.”

“In literally a period of 90 days, being able to take this building down to its studs and completely rebuild it with new plumbing, new electrical systems, new fire-suppression systems and also new drywall, new fixtures throughout the building is really quite extraordinary for that to be accomplished,” he said.

But the college isn’t finished updating its residential buildings yet. Its older buildings will be renovated over the next two years, Trachte reported.

“This is a very important day for the college. The reason it’s an important day is it marks completion of the first phase of renewing and renovating our historic residential buildings that were constructed between 1948 and 1965,” Trachte said. “The trustees have already approved funding that will allow us to renovate additional residential buildings during the next two summers.”

Trachte also noted that students will not pick up the tab for any additional costs because of the future renovations.

“I also want to emphasize, particularly to students, that these projects are being financed by leveraging the college’s capacity to borrow and that the costs are not being passed along to students in the form of additional fees that students are charged to attend Lycoming,” he said.

Rich Hall, named for the Rich family, which has had 29 members attend the college or one of its predecessors and started Woolrich Outdoor Clothing Co., is the college’s oldest residential building, having opened in 1948.