Refurbishment of Murphey Hall

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Construction on Murphey Hall began in 1922, and the building was put into service in 1924. There were no extensive renovations until 1962, when the auditorium (then MU 111) was renovated, one (presumably unintended ) consequence being the partial obstruction of the heating ducts in the auditorium. In 1975, the department moved from the first and second floors to the second and third. Some wall partitions were moved, the old slate blackboards were replaced with greenboards, window AC units were installed in many rooms, a new departmental library was created on the third floor, ceilings in the hallways were lowered in anticipation of the installation of central AC (which never came to pass), and lecture rooms with slide facilities and television monitors were created in the northwest and northeast corners of the first floor. Very little was done by way of maintenance from about 1985 on, once the decision was made to undertake a complete renovation of the building. When the proposed renovations were postponed again and again, the building became gradually more and more shabby. The roof leaked, and water seeped into the walls, leading to the cracking of plaster and paint. One of the steam radiators burst, causing extensive damage to two faculty offices and the western staircase. By 2001, the building was in a serious state of disrepair, as these photographs attest.

Athena in the Ullman Library

Athena in the Ullman Library

A typical classroom in Murphey prior to renovations

A typical classroom in Murphey prior to renovations

George Houston, then chair, reclines in the department

George Houston, then chair, reclines in the department

Peter Smith enters a room that highlights the modified doorways and internal architecture

Peter Smith enters a room that highlights the modified doorways and internal architecture

A view of a Murphey hallway as it once was

A view of a Murphey hallway as it once was

 

 

 

 

The above photographs were taken by Donald C. Haggis in the spring of 2001, just before the long-awaited renovation (and restoration to something like its appearance in the 1920s) began.