By Ryan Horne
Massey Hall at the University of Guelph is one of the many aging buildings that have been or are in the process of being renovated at the campus.
Over the past five years, the school has spent an average of $14 million a year on deferred maintenance projects, campus-wide, on such buildings as Macdonald Institute, War Memorial Hall, the President’s House and Raithby House.
“We need to keep up with the work that needs to be done to these buildings,” said U of G manager of construction Paul Mesman.
With the average age of buildings on campus being 45 years, keeping up with capital repairs and maintenance for energy, condition, occupant comfort and safety reasons is very important, said Mesman.
One of the more historical buildings at the university, Massey Hall is currently in the second phase of a three-phase project slated to wrap up by 2014.
Phase one was completed two years ago when the roof was replaced, said Mesman.
The second phase of replacing the copper eaves troughs, downspouts and main entrance sign on the building is currently underway. They’ve also cut down some vines and vegetation that were contributing to exterior wall deterioration and hiding the view of the hall. This phase of renovations will cost $150,000 and was expected to be completed for the start of the school year this month.
“We want to fix it up and make this beautiful historic building more visible,” he said. The third and final phase will hopefully be completed by 2014 and will include major repairs of brick, the roof terracotta and windows. This phase is expected to cost the school $1.5 million, said Mesman.
Massey Hall – a gift from Walter Massey’s family – was built in 1903. It’s now the U of G’s drama department.
Mesman said the University of Guelph campus differs from other schools such as the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University because of the historical vibe you get when you walk around the school grounds.
“Our older buildings really identify us as a campus. We have an interesting mix of architecture that sets us apart” he said.
Macdonald Institute – a building that was first used for teaching young women in 1903 – underwent a $5- million renovation a few years ago due to structural concerns, deteriorating interior features, stained glass, brickwork, terracotta and main building entrance elements.
Raithby House, built in 1882, is reopening this month after being closed for fours years due to structural issues as well as deteriorated mechanical and electrical systems. It will cost the school half a million dollars, said Mesman. The building was the original farmhouse on campus and is now used for student support, including the Multi-Faith Resource Team as well as after-hours counselling.
The roof of the Ontario Veterinary College at U of G and the front entrance of War Memorial Hall were both repaired over the past five years.