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Elmira College - Cowles Hall

Building Rehabilitation

 

Cowles Hall is an existing 5-story, 70,000 SF, c.1855 structure (listed on the National Register of Historic Places).  structure (listed on the National Register of Historic Places).  As the first building on campus, Cowles Hall once served as the entire physical plant for the campus with student rooms, parlors, dining facilities, laboratories, libraries, literary societies, and a chapel.  

 

The College’s initial goal was to renovate and restore Cowles Hall to satisfy the need for additional student dorm rooms and amenities necessary to remain competitive with other institutions.  However, the limitations of bearing walls between the original rooms and the need to add bathrooms resulted in less beds and smaller rooms than required.  Therefore, the College decided to instead return Cowles Hall’s Terrace & Main Level to its original campus-wide public functions by repairing/stabilizing the structure and reconstructing the building’s interior.  The upper levels are to be renovated at a future date.

 

This restoration project was defined and included a historic structures report, programming, structural analysis and stabilization, exterior reconstruction, selective removals, terrace and main level renovation, fire protection and code analysis, asbestos abatement, engineering as-built drawings, and improvements for handicapped accessibility.

 

The building program included restoration/repairs to the existing exterior walls; replacement of dilapidated wood structures (roof, bearing walls and floors) with steel and concrete framing; and a new 4-story, 3,345 SF chapel inside an open interior space created by gutting existing floor framing.  The chapel includes: