Renovations continue at Guilford

The Hut has been transformed into Rachel’s Rose Cottage Coffee Shop operated by Meriwether Godsey. //Photo By:Yunah Kim/The Guilfordian

Even as Guilford begins to wrap up the 2018-2019 academic year, renovations and campus-improvement projects around campus are still in full swing. From residence hall revamps to dining hall improvements to the reintroduction of a coffee shop, Guilford’s campus living spaces continue to be updated and reimagined one building at a time.

In charge of the construction and renovations around campus is Vice President of Administration and Finance Leonard Sippel. He and his Physical Plant Team are guided by a Construction Management Committee whose current projects include the planning and construction of the Milner and Bryan residence halls, the completion of Rachel’s Rose Cottage and improvements to the Founders Dining Hall and lower level dining, which includes The Grill and The Quakeria.

These renovations are currently being funded through fundraisers and bond raising with the current budget sitting around $50 million. The ultimate goal is to help make the Guilford community a better place.

“Safety, elimination of deferred maintenance and adapting the campus to the needs of the students are the three primary reasons for the renovations,” Sippel said. “The buildings such as Bryan, Milner and Rachel’s Rose Cottage will continue to elevate the student experience and provide them with a full campus life.”

Some of the most requested renovations over the years by students have been improved residence halls. Milner, Bryan and Binford Halls have been used as first-year housing facilities over the years, but each has been criticized for their unsuitable and unclean interiors. Many former residents, of Milner hall specifically, have expressed ways to improve first-year students’ living situations.

“I hope they add more study rooms because it’s hard to study with a roommate,” said junior Kelsey Reilly. “The community centers were also too loud and better bathrooms would be nice as well, including more space and updates to the flooring and the showers.”

All of these requests and more will be granted in the next couple of years as Milner Hall is expected to reopen in Fall 2019, followed by Bryan Hall in Fall 2020. Improvements in Milner include new AC systems, renewed restrooms and bedrooms, restored common rooms as well as a new demonstration kitchen and laundry room on the lower level. In Bryan, which is currently in the planning stage, an elevator and workout room will be introduced. The former second-floor lounge will be returned to a gathering space for students and the residential hall’s suites will be refreshed.

Binford Hall went through similar renovations earlier in the year and community reactions to the updates have been positive.

One of the other renovations that have been on Sippel and his team’s agenda is the new campus coffee shop. Rachel’s Rose Cottage, which was originally a house of campus ministries known as The Hut, will soon officially open as a coffee service right off the Quad. A formal ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for Friday, April 12 at 10:30 a.m. to celebrate the new facility and its purpose on Guilford’s campus.

Associate Professor of Music Kami Rowan and Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies Wess Daniels have worked closely with the construction of Rachel’s Rose Cottage, and believe the quality of the work will help preserve the value of The Hut on campus.

“Rachel’s will be an oasis and gathering place for the community,” Rowan said. “It is uniquely Guilford, and Rachel’s is for everyone. When a student or community member steps into Rachel’s they feel a familiar sense of the memory it holds with all their senses stimulated—the smell of freshly ground quality coffee, high fidelity sound of music from around the world, sights of the lovely fireplace and original bones and the touch of warmth and comfort from the fireplace and old wooden benches.

“We can be proud of this space and what it brings to our campus.”

Currently, Rachel’s Rose Cottage is managed by Meriwether Godsey and all of the coffee is locally roasted. In addition, the drinks are 15 percent cheaper than regular Starbucks prices and every flavor and bean has been hand chosen with the help of Daniels.

Finally, as the academic year comes to a close, Sippel and his team have set their sights on renovating the Founders Dining Hall to make the atmosphere more inviting. Over the summer, they plan to update the walls, floors, ceilings and furnishings.

In order to do so, however, Guilford will be closing down the lower level dining area throughout the month of April to make it suitable as the main dining facility during the summer. Slight modifications will be made, but it is projected to reopen following graduation. In addition, at the same time Founders Dining Hall is under construction, the bookstore will be relocated over the summer to provide extra dining space.

While many renovations are happening now, at the end of the school year, throughout the entire year, academic, athletic and artistic facilities have been updated to further enhance the student experience in many different areas.

These updates and additions included the Binford Hall renovation, a new fitness studio in the athletics building, the formation of the Hege-Cox Art Building Complex, the Orangerie and the lake revitalization.

“The sum impact of these campus improvements promises to be transformational in elevating the student experience at Guilford College,” Sippel said in a former Guilford news article announcing future renovation plans. “While the projects are diverse in scope and focus, everything we are creating is designed to serve the best interests and desires of our students.”