Ames to reopen in January

A five-story academic space complete with lecture halls and a cafe will open on the Mount Vernon Campus in January.

The renovated Ames Hall will boast the largest classrooms on the Vern, with offerings of popular freshman classes, like introductory mathematics and political science courses, to accommodate the students that will now be taking their University Writing courses on the campus.

When West Hall opened in fall 2010, the center of the Vern shifted away from the quad, Shelley Heller, associate provost for the Mount Vernon Campus, said. She added that she hopes Ames Hall will bring students back to the north end of the campus.

“This [building] is a game changer for not only the campus, but for the people who teach here,” Heller said. “I am over the moon about this building.”

The types of classes offered in the new academic space will be determined later this fall when the spring course schedule is created, Heller said. Ames Hall will house several new departments, including the University Writing Program, which will be relocated to the building’s top floor this spring. Administrators are also considering moving parts of the University Honors Program to the Vern, but details have yet to be finalized.

The interior design program, the forensic sciences department and the Women’s Leadership Program are already located on the Vern.

Each classroom in Ames Hall will be equipped with LCD projectors, ceiling-mounted document cameras, touchscreen control systems, Turning Point response systems and Blu-Ray playback. Smaller classrooms will include interactive white boards that connect to computers, while larger rooms will feature wireless microphone systems.

Chad Harmon, the University’s senior project manager, said he expects Ames Hall to receive a minimum of Silver Certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards.

The building will feature a green roof and reflective roofing, energy efficient heating and cooling systems, insulated windows and water bottle-filling stations.

Heller said she expects the revamped Ames Hall to function as a student center on the Vern, in addition to its academic uses.

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