Margery Reed Hall will undergo extensive renovations in the next two years to provide better facilities for future students of the Daniels College of Business. The $8 million project is scheduled to start this fall after the Presidential Debate and finish by January 2014.
“The purpose is for Margery Reed to be a home for our undergraduate program, and for Daniels students, faculty and staff to have a place they can call home,” said Kristen Wiley, Daniels’ director of development
The project will primarily be funded by private donations, with the university contributing $2 million and Daniels contributing $1 million. According to Wiley, the private funding of the renovation just started this year, though the project has been discussed since the university gifted Margery Reed to Daniels in 2007.
“The number of funds we’ve raised so far is undisclosed, but our goal is to raise 80 percent to start the construction process and the rest by the end of the next fiscal year,” said Wiley.
According to Wiley, the structure and face of the building will remain intact during the construction. The main engineering will be updating the wireless connectivity, heating, air-conditioning, plumbing and overall structural soundness of the building.
“There are already classrooms and study rooms in there that aren’t utilized,” said Wiley. “They just need to be brought up to date. The exception will be the basement, which is essentially one big boiler room right now. We’re going to open that up and make it lighter and add some more classrooms and study spaces down there.”
Wiley said there are no confirmed numbers of classrooms that will be added, but an estimated nine additional classrooms will be added to Margery Reed Hall as a whole, with another possible five in the basement.
According to a brochure published by ASCEND: The Campaign for the University of Denver, the main Daniels building was originally designed to accommodate 1,800 students, but today there are more than 3,000 students enrolled in the business school. Daniels classrooms support 53 hours of instruction per week, in comparison to the national average of 30 hours per week.
“Daniels is trying to maintain the low teacher-to-student ratio DU is known for, which is why we want to add another space,” said Wiley. “We also run so many programs here, including undergraduate and graduate programs, that we just need space to disperse our facilities.”
Wiley said one of the most exciting parts of the project will be the renovation of the original “Little Theater” on the main floor. The theater will seat 176 and provide a space for future speakers and presentations, primarily business-related.
“Right now, Marcus Commons in the main Daniels building is used for that kind of event, but it was not originally created for that,” said Wiley. “Whenever we have someone come in, we have to close the Commons and students have to find somewhere else to go.”
Renovating the theater will also include restoring the historic mural painted by John Edward Thompson.
“In all of this, it’s very important to us that we keep the historic integrity of the building,” said Wiley. “Restoring the mural in the theater is important because it’s one of the great examples we have of art history on campus.”
Margery Reed was originally built in 1929 at a cost of $225,000. Since then it has housed the theater, English and political science departments, as well as an alternative University of Denver high school.
Today, the building is home to Daniels’ undergraduate advisers, the Marketing and Communications office and the university-wide Strategic Issues Program. These offices will remain in the building after the renovation, but in the mean time they will be moved to other locations on campus.
“Margery Reed will be the third crown jewel of the business school,” said Wiley. “It will have the same historic feel that it does now.”