Old Music: New Look

15 April 2021

Old Music Hall was built in 1914 and housed Carleton’s music department until 2017, when the faculty and staff relocated to Weitz Center for Creativity. As summer approaches, the elegant old structure is being prepared for a makeover. By the fall of 2022, if all goes as planned, the building—fully refurbished and remodeled—will be home to the political science department.

Music Hall
Music Hall

The refresh, fully funded with a gift from Carleton trustee and alumnus Michael Hasenstab ’95 and his wife, Mary Ann, will result in a brighter, less cramped interior without disturbing the building’s classic collegiate-style facade. There will be more usable spaces—including flexible classrooms, spacious study rooms, 15 faculty offices, and two large spaces for faculty-student collaboration and research. Most important, says political science chair Dev Gupta, there will be a student lounge and other areas where, post COVID, students can connect more organically. “Unlike other departments, we don’t have a place where we can gather, converse, and build community,” Gupta says. The department is currently quartered in Willis Hall with the economics and educational studies departments.

Many of the smaller, enclosed spaces in Old Music’s original layout, including practice rooms with padded leather doors and unused basement space, will be opened up, and interior glass panels and partitions will allow daylight to reach the deepest interior portions of the building. Gretchen Hofmeister ’85, associate dean of the college, who temporarily moved into the building last year, says she’s glad to see Carleton preserving its architectural heritage. Pressed to suggest some connection between music, the building’s original purpose, and politics, she shrugged: “Maybe, they both make a lot of noise?”

Posted In

Appears in Issues: