Marston Hall Renovation Update


Korrie Bysted/Iowa State Daily

A construction crew works on the renovations of the 110-year-old Marston Hall building on June 4, 2015. Sixty percent of the project is demolition. 

Carolina Colon

Lockers, no central air conditioner and an old structure with lead painting were Marston Hall’s worst aspects. 

The building first unlocked its doors in 1903. Since then, it has never had a complete renovation — that changed last summer when it was closed for a $27 million renovation that will be completed in fall 2016.

The name Marston comes from the first dean of the College of Engineering, then called Division of Engineering, Anson Marston. But the building’s original name was Engineering Hall. 

Kerry Anne Dixon, facilities project manager and coordinator for sustainable design and construction for ISU Facilities Planning and Management, explained what new features the building will have.

“The renovation will be a great place for students, having a variety of tables and rooms for group studying,” Dixon said. “As you move up, it’s more of a function focus, having different conference rooms for interviews after career week.”

Dixon said the project will provide students with space outside of the classroom to study and interact.

“It’s going to be really exciting when it opens,” Dixon said. “There are a couple of things people will remember. People will be amazed how the building is changed being respectful on how it started.”

The goal of this project is to give the building another 100 years of life. About 75 workers are employed at the site, and more will be hired in November. 

Being involved with Marston Hall for more than 35 years, Mufit Akinc, professor of material science and engineering, explained some old features of the hall.

“The building had a really depressing look,” Akinc said. “At least one-third of the building was not in effective use.”

Akinc said he is excited for students to see the building because it is going to be redesigned for the students.

The first floor will include different study areas with erasable walls, along with advisers, the student services center and engineering honor’s program. The second floor will have classrooms, and the third floor will be dedicated to conference rooms and study groups.

“[The first floor] is going to be an opportunity of service for the students [and a] gateway for the prospective families of future engineers,” said Joel Johnson, director of Engineering Student Services.

Johnson said the College of Engineering has been giving a real effort of keeping the history of the building alive. For example, the muses at the top of the building are also being redone, but the structure will be the same.

Dixon said this is the first female-dominated project she has seen in her 20 years of working at Iowa State.

“The College of Engineering is a male-dominant major,” Dixon said. “Our project architect is a female, changing the face of where engineering is going to be in the future.”