Music students, Southerners return to Mason Hall after renovations completed

Current view of the main entrance of Mason Hall on the campus of Jacksonville State University. (Coley Birchfield/The Chanticleer)Current view of the main entrance of Mason Hall on the campus of Jacksonville State University. (Coley Birchfield/The Chanticleer)

Coley Birchfield, Correspondent

For the first time since the March 2018 tornadoes, the David L. Walters Department of Music, which includes the Southerners and music majors, finally has a home after Mason Hall renovations were completed.

Mason Hall sustained costly damages from the tornado that leveled Jacksonville State’s campus along the stretch of Alabama Highway 204. The building suffered an estimated $4 million of damages which included: roof removal, HVAC unit destruction and widespread water damage. 

Kevin Geeter, a JSU senior described his initial thoughts after seeing the destruction as “very disheartening”. That $4 million, however, was only a small piece of the estimated $100 million of damage around campus from over 70 damaged buildings. 

The facility had sustained essentially the same exterior appearance for decades. The building can now be seen with an arching roof design similar to Logan Hall, Ayers Hall and others. 

The facilities of Mason Hall include administrative offices, normal classroom environments, a choral rehearsal room, band practice room and a recital hall. There is also a student lounging area allowing students to socialize and interact with one another. 

“It was absolutely incredible,” said Geeter, who performed the first performance in Mason Hall’s new recital hall. “It’s just all so modern. So incredibly nice and definitely what this department deserves.”

 With completed construction, students are able to once again attend classes inside of Mason Hall while abiding by strict COVID-19 guidelines. Aside from the normal mask requirement there are: doors to be used for entrance and exit only, stairs meant to be only up or down, sanitation wipes provided for all students to clean their seating areas and social distancing enforcements in social areas. 

Dr. Ken Bodiford, JSU’s director of bands, shot a video with complete social distancing information related to Mason Hall.

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