Just off King Street next to Plemmons Student Union is a little-known addition to App’s campus. Howard Street Hall opened this fall to faculty and students.
Darrell Kruger, provost and executive vice chancellor at Appalachian, played a leading role in the remodeling of the building, previously a Presbyterian church the university acquired in 2010.
“In order to continue to provide high-quality education for students, we really need the requisite academic facilities,” Kruger said.
As part of a leadership team with the three other vice chancellors and Chancellor Sheri Everts, Kruger helped decide to use funds to turn the old church into two lecture halls and 21 faculty offices. Due to Appalachian’s growing population, most of the offices have already been filled since the space opened in August.
Kruger said that the university is currently renovating the buildings in the health sciences college and bought the property of the former Watauga County High School for development.
“The university has two options in providing new space: build up or acquire as much new property as possible,” Kruger said. “Building upward can only go so far so that the university coexists with the natural aesthetics of Boone.”
Carol Soule, a family and child studies professor, was one of the faculty members to receive one of the new offices. Previously using an office shared with many other faculty, she said the new office gives her much needed space to talk with students after class and do work without going to a computer lab.
Art Rex, the director of space management and planning at App, said the budget for Howard Street Hall was $2.65 million. The planning and design started in the spring of 2016 with the architecture firm LS3P. Construction started the following fall with Vannoy Construction and the ribbon was cut Aug. 25.
Rex said one concern during renovation was keeping a separate space for the Lucy Brock Child Development Laboratory Program in the lowest level of the building. Accommodations included removing a stairway that connected the main floor and child care facility as well as installing sound dampening floors in the lecture spaces.
One feature of the space that stood out to Soule was that, unlike other lecture halls, Howard Hall has an area where students can eat, study or gather socially. She said it’s a space that would be more likely found in a student union than a lecture hall.
Katelyn McKinney, a senior career and technical education major, is one student who can be found outside the lecture hall with her feet propped up, earbuds in and working on her laptop. McKinney said she enjoys being able to use the quiet space in between classes.
Howard Street Hall gives space for lectures that span departments across the university, including geography and planning and anthropology.
Story by; Dylan Austin, Intern News Editor
Photo Credit; Halle Keighton, Photo Editor