A few houses down from Wesley Hall lies a vacant monolith: Munger Hall. Towering far above its neighbors, the college building’s only indication of life is a giant sign on its front yard, holding a small banner for a dentist office that is its only resident.
Changes, however, are happening within.
From its opening in 1926 as an inn, to an apartment and office complex in the ‘70s, to an upperclassman residence in 2003, Albion College now hopes to see the building they bought 12 years ago turn into a collaborative living space for students.
Chuck Carlson has been closely following the hall’s renovations. As the director of media relations, he has been slowly discovering just what sort of future the complex houses.
The former Battle Creek Enquirer journalist said that President Ditzler wanted a place for students to form a community, talking and learning from each other. Living in Munger for a year in this atmosphere, they could then apply what they learn in their classrooms towards the future or in the community.
Munger was left unoccupied in the spring of 2013 when structural problems, specifically the roof, uprooted the 41 seniors residing in its rooms and placed them in Seaton for the remainder of the semester. “The ceiling wasn’t collapsing in any way, but there were some concerns,” said Carlson.
Currently, the renovations are still at an early stage, with the college making sure the building is up to code. Fire alarms and suppressions, for example, have just recently been replaced.
Although Munger has been vacant, it is still in pristine shape, a great asset for reconstruction.
“There isn’t a whole lot that needs to be done,” said Carlson. “It’s not as if the place has been sitting for 25 years.”
Workers can be seen entering and exiting the premises frequently. In fact, those who pass by will see that the complex is active.
Many details of the plan and its renovations, however, are yet to be released to the public, but with a generous gift from an alumni that could keep on giving, the possibilities are open.
Despite everything being so early in the process, “this kind of primes the pump,” said Carlson.
This article previously stated the dentist office that resides in Munger Hall is no longer there. It has been updated to reflect that the dentist is, in fact, still in business and has been for some time.
Photo by Clare Kolenda