Lake Huron Hall renovations reflect community


Courtesy / GVSU

Elizabeth Schanz

Lake Huron Hall, one of the three Great Lakes halls on Grand Valley State University’s Allendale campus, has reopened after being closed for renovations.

Built in 1963 alongside Lake Michigan Hall and Lake Superior Hall, it is one of the original buildings on campus. 

“It is a fascinating building, rich in institutional history and unexpected flashes of architectural charm,” said Melissa Morison, associate professor and chair of the Classics Department. “From its interesting foundations up to its rediscovered skylights, Lake Huron encapsulates the history of Grand Valley as a place of innovation, teamwork and proactive adaptation to new challenges.” 

The recent renovation had a $9.1 million budget which went to updating and improving key aspects of the building. The improvements included revisions to make the building ADA compliant and LEED Certified, a new fire protection and HVAC system, ductwork and piping, and building controls.

The exterior changes include a new membrane roof and conversion of exterior balconies to interior study spaces. 

These improvements help contribute to the longevity and efficiency of the building while maintaining its historic appearance. The updates can additionally provide educational and learning opportunities.  

The building is home to the Classics Department, allowing faculty and students to connect and further their learning experience. The areas within the building are intended to create an environment that students feel more comfortable and open to valuable interactions with peers and faculty. 

“Flexible collaboration and study areas, in multiple configurations, encourage faculty-student interaction beyond the classroom,” Morison said. “An amazing array of art from the University Collections supports our teaching mission, too; many pieces I teach with are now gathered under the same roof, right outside the classrooms.”

Morison commends the improvements as a way to work towards more creative approaches to learning, making it more collaborative, accessible and interactive. 

Benefits are also seen between the faculty members in the building. Quinn Griffin, an associate professor in Lake Huron Hall, sees the entire Classics department as a tight-knit group and the renovations within the building provide an area for impromptu discussions, allowing ideas to flow.  

 “Our colleagues in Facilities have such talent,” Morison said. “It’s really thanks to their dedication and skill that this project turned out so well.”

The Facilities Planning department is also responsible for making the buildings safe to comply with all COVID-19 procedures. From blocking off furniture to create six feet or placing stand apart stickers on the floor, these additions make it so that students can hope to have the opportunity to utilize in-person buildings like Lake Huron Hall in the near future.