Luke Reed, Correspondent
After three years of insurance disputes and inspections from FEMA, Wallace Hall — formerly home to JSU’s School of Health Professions and Wellness — is set to be renovated.
“Wallace Hall will not be demolished,” said Christie Shelton, JSU’s provost, who previously served as the school’s dean. “We are only in the design phase and truly beginning there.”
The Board of Trustees approved a preliminary budget for Wallace Hall renovations during their quarterly meeting in January, earmarking $750,000 for initial project management.
Wallace Hall was significantly damaged by an EF-3 tornado three years ago, a storm that affected the community and the university in many challenging ways.
Originally, the plan was for Wallace Hall to be demolished, and in 2019, the university was actively advertising for bidders to demolish the building. In February 2020, JSU officials confirmed that the demolition was placed on hold pending a review of the building “to be reconsidered as a repair rather than a replacement,” according to Jim Brigham, JSU’s vice president for finance and administration.
A design team is currently planning the new renovations of Wallace Hall. Tim Lindblom, JSU’s dean of the School of Science, is chairman of the design team, and said that “the goal is to move into the building in the fall of 2022 or first thing in 2023.”
“President Killingsworth has expressed a vision for a student-focused education building,” said Lindblom. “We hope to create a space that is specifically designed to support the general education curriculum, particularly at the 100 and 200 level.”
The newly-renovated Wallace Hall is set to include several new science laboratories for intro courses, many 30 to 50 seat classrooms, a computer laboratory, a remodeled auditorium and student collaborative spaces.
“We are planning for the building to get a new exterior skin that is more in keeping with the campus architecture including a new entrance,” Lindblom added.