Alumni Hall to be Renovated
Alumni Hall —one of the oldest buidings on campus — is being treated to a well-deserved upgrade according to David Frassinelli, associate vice president for Facilities Management. Recently it has been the focus of some cosmetic upgrades such as the addition of new outer doors and light sconces. The installation of exterior LED lights is part of the campus wide initiative to be more eco-friendly. These lights are certainly a step in the right direction, Frassinelli said, “In fact, the ones installed along Loyola Drive have reduced energy consumption by 75%.”
Frassinelli said the roof of Alumni Hall is also being replaced. This construction is set to begin mid-March and be completed in May, in time for Commencement. Securing the exterior integrity of the building is essential to all the work being done, he indicated. Alumni hall is home to women's volleyball and basketball, as well as a venue for other campus events.
New windows are to be installed this summer, replacing the existing ones that have bars across them. Future plans include completely redoing the flooring in the main lobby and entryways. Proposals are being drawn to make those areas more aesthetically appealing and more functional, similar to what has already been done in Canisius Hall and the Dolan School of Business.
At the time of its construction in 1959, Alumni Hall was a groundbreaking addition to the Fairfield University campus. According to local newspapers, Alumni Hall was built as part of a 1956 new development program, featuring over 45,000 sq. ft. of space. Then Fairfield University president, Joseph D. Fitzgerald, S.J, said this $1,000,000 structure “will encourage the building trades and stimulate employment in the Greater Bridgeport area” according to the Bridgeport Sunday Post from May of 1958.
Already underway is the installation of a new ventilation system, primarily in the locker rooms. These improvements will have a huge impact on sporting events at Alumni Hall. The enhancement of the locker rooms will show Fairfield in a more positive light to everyone, including visiting teams, according to Frassinelli.
The upgrades for Alumni Hall will create a better game day experience overall for the teams who play and spectators who attend, according to Frassinelli. Gene Doris, director of athletics, said, “These improvements will help our athletic marketing efforts which should result in increased attendance by students and the general public as well.”
Frassinelli explained that these upgrades would be spread out over an extended period of time. A small amount of money is dedicated to these improvements each year, similar to the on-going renovation of the townhouses.
A more extensive renovation is in the works for the campus Rec-Plex. Plans have been developed and approved, and the University is actively engaged in raising funds to support the project. The renovation will include a sizable addition to support fitness, cardio, and weight training, as well as substantial renovations to the locker rooms and Birkenstock Fieldhouse.
Frassinelli expressed the hope to someday install air-conditioning in Alumni Hall, which would make Commencement-related ceremonies and other events even more enjoyable. Long-term, plans include upgrading Alumni Hall’s seating.
“Alumni Hall has a lot of history attached to it” including the original seal of Fairfield University, according to Frassinelli. These improvements are “much deserved” given the meaning and importance of this edifice. Doris added, “An upgraded Alumni Hall is an important piece in the success of our Volleyball and Women’s Basketball programs.”
Overall, the renovation of Alumni Hall is a work-in-progress, but will have lasting effects for students and alumni alike. These advancements will enable Alumni Hall’s appearance to match its heart and history.