Renovations on Wiggs Hall in the Historic Quad began just earlier this year, but it will be fulfilling a new role on campus in just a few short months.
Wiggs Hall was the first science building that was built on Mercer’s Macon campus. After a newer science building was built, it was home to the psychology department before they moved into Willet Science Center.
“We are repurposing how the building’s being used," Executive Vice President for Administration and Finance James Netherton said.
The renovations have focused on bringing Wiggs Hall up to current building codes and standards and to make the building more energy efficient. This is being accomplished by putting an elevator in the back of the building, adding new restrooms near the elevator and adding double-pane glass to windows.
“We’re bringing everything up and changing it all and making it new and fresh so it’ll last another 50 or 60 years," Netherton said.
A major part of the renovations is the extension of the front porch, which will allow students with physical disabilities easier access to the building.
“We’re going to be bringing that front porch out further, and that will allow us to re-configure how people get to the building,” Netherton said. “We make it so that buildings that require steps also have naturally configured walkways that will get up as well.”
The building will not have classrooms, which, according to Netherton, has sped up the renovation process.
“Most buildings that we build have classrooms,” Netherton said. “If the classroom isn’t available when the semester starts, you might as well wait four or five months.”
Wiggs Hall will instead house several academic and support services, which will allow renovations to be completed as early as the end of 2021.
“Since this is not a classroom building, it’s not as hard and fast, at the rate things are going I expect the building to be completed in calendar year 2021, and we’ll be moving in during calendar year 2022,” Netherton said.
The renovated Wiggs Hall will house the Center for Career and Professional Development, the Center for Engaged Learning, the Honors Program, Fellowship and Scholarship programs and International Recruitment and Programs.
The next buildings the school is looking to renovate are Ryals and Langdale Halls, and afterwards Netherton said they are thinking of renovating Ware Hall.
“We’re always looking and planning,” Netherton said. “As we continue to grow and academic needs change and students need change, we’re trying to stay out front and plan for it.”