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Tuesday, May 17, 2022
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Wiggs Hall renovations complete, building open for business

Wiggs Hall (left) fully renovated for students, faculty and staff to enter with Steve Brown (right) holding the Heritage Life History Trail Project’s history of the building.
Wiggs Hall (left) fully renovated for students, faculty and staff to enter with Steve Brown (right) holding the Heritage Life History Trail Project’s history of the building.

As Mercer comes to the end of another busy semester, the campus has also witnessed the beginning of a new era with the finished renovations of Wiggs Hall in Spring 2022. Renovations on Wiggs Hall, located in the Historic Quad, began early in 2021 but will now be able to fulfill a new role on campus.

Wiggs Hall was opened in 1903 as the first science building on the Macon campus and was originally built to host chemistry, pharmacy and physics classes.

With the new renovations, Wiggs Hall now hosts the Office for Center for Career and Professional Development and the Office of Global Engagement on the first floor. The Office for Fellowships and Scholarships, the Center for Engaged Learning and the Honors program are located on the second floor.

James Netherton, Mercer’s Executive Vice President for Administration and Finance, said that the building was relatively old and is glad to have done his part to help improve the campus.

“We looked around to see what buildings we thought were highest priorities,” Netherton said. “And we really were interested in growing, creating a building where we could consolidate a number of offices that provide important services for our students.” 

Because of the push for new offices, Netherton and the administration hired an architect and spoke with the offices that were meant to be candidates for the new building. Netherton said the architect came up with a schematic plant design for the building and where the offices were located.

“There had to be construction drawings and then we had to turn them over to the contractor,” Netherton said. “And he had to speak with all of his subcontractors, and we had to figure out what the price was going to be and get him the guaranteed maximum price. There's a whole lot that goes into construction before you can ever break ground.”

The offices at Wiggs Hall provide assisting services for Mercerians looking for internships, jobs, and external engagement opportunities including international student services and international enrollment such as study abroad and Mercer On Mission. There are also featured workshops for resumes and scholarship advice in the newly renovated building.

Steve Brown, the Associate Dean for Student Services and a career consultant in the Center for Career and Professional Development, was able to adapt quickly to the new space.

“I didn’t move far since I used to be in the Connell Student Center,” Brown said. “It wasn’t a big adjustment, and it’s a lot quieter in Wiggs. We’re also developing a sense of community in Wiggs by sharing spaces and other resources.”

Brown understands Mercer’s commitment to preserving historic structures on campus and is glad he gets to enjoy the benefits of the renovation. Brown is able to help more students with a wider office space and a nice view of the historic quad.

The student workers in Wiggs Hall have also appreciated the new renovations. Ines Prodanovic, a sophomore studying neuroscience with a minor in chemistry and English, works as a student assistant for the CCPD on the 1st floor and enjoys working in this new office space more than in her last space on the third floor of the CSC.

“It was just so cramped up there with five to six offices sharing a relatively close space,” Prodanovic said. “Students were always confused about where was what, so most of my time was usually spent guiding students to one of the other offices. I think overall it's better that the CCPD along with the international offices and fellowship and scholarship offices moved into the newly renovated Wiggs.”

The new renovation has also improved the safety of the building as Prodanovic remembers the building to be a health hazard in her freshman year that wasn’t used anyways.

“From my understanding, there was asbestos found in the insulation, so the building needed to be renovated,” Prodanovic said. “Wiggs was unused for at least two school semesters so there was a whole lot of the building not being utilized efficiently.”

With many offices in the CSC and Historic Quad crammed together, the Wiggs Hall renovation had come as a relief to many staff and faculty members at Mercer expanding the office space on the campus.

Wiggs Hall was constructed at a cost of $12,000 and the next renovations scheduled are for Langdale and Ryals Halls. 


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