The work to renovate Joel L. Fletcher Hall will begin soon according to Bill Crist, Director of Facilites Management for the University.

The renovations to the building that houses the School of Architecture and Design and the Department of Visual Arts and the College of the Arts' Media Center is expected to get started in December.

Total renovation of the facility is expected to be finished by the end of December 2014.

Crist says, "We expect to sign a contract as soon as possible."

The low bidder for the $3.8 million, state-funded project was M.D. Descant Inc.

Ziler Architects is the firm that designed the project, and they asked for suggestions from students, faculty and alumni.

Fletcher Hall opened in 1977. The interior atrium designed into the building was suppose to be covered in glass, but because their were budget constraints, that never happened, and the weather has resulted in extensive water damage.

As part of the project, the first floor exterior walls will be repaired and weatherproofed.  They will also be coated to complement new metal panels that will be put into the upper floors.

The project will also aim to correct leaks in the building, and it will mean the addition of 20,000 square feet of education space on the second floor.

A sprinkler and fire alarm system will also be new additions to the structure.

While the construction is going on, classes will be held in the building, and Crist says,

"Obviously, that's going to present some challenges, but the end result will be a much-improved facility that will serve students in the years to come."

The building is named for the University's third president, Joel Lafayette Fletcher, who served from 1941 to 1966.