LAFAYETTE — Work to replace the façade of Fletcher Hall on the University of Louisiana at Lafayette campus, repairing extensive water damage to the building, will get under way early next year, said William Crist, the university’s facilities director.
The major renovation involves resealing and refinishing the entire exterior of the building and enclosing open-air areas in the three-story building, Crist said.
The building houses the College of Arts’ School of Architecture and Design and its Department of Visual Arts.
While the project received about $4.2 million in state capital outlay funding, the building’s needs are “much greater,” Crist said.
“We’re trying to work within the budget,” he said.
Future phases of the improvements, focusing on interior improvements of the building, await more funding, Crist said.
The three-story building features a courtyard and open-air spaces, or plazas, on the second floor.
When designed in the 1970s, the building was to have an atrium, but the project was scaled back because of a lack of funding, leaving a courtyard instead.
Features of the building such as the plazas, wooden railings and ceilings were to be protected by the enclosed atrium; however, years of water intrusion damaged the wood features.
Water damagealso has scarred the building’s exterior, which is covered in plaster.
In 2009, the university requested emergency funding from the state to target safety hazards in the building.
“We did some emergency remediation work with the expectation that the actual project was going to follow and take care of it on a long-term basis,” Crist said.
To keep the project in budget, the courtyard won’t become an atrium, but the second- and third-floor open-air walkways will be enclosed with glass, Crist said.
The work, which includes the enclosure of open-air plazas on the second floor, will create about 10,000 square feet of additional usable space for classrooms, labs and offices, said Jim Ziler, of Ziler Architects, the firm that designed the renovations.
The building’s exterior stucco finish will be removed and replaced with pre-manufactured metal panels, similar to those used on Madison Hall, which houses the College of Engineering, Ziler said.
To complement the campus’ other buildings, red bricks will be featured in the renovation and will border the hall’s exterior, he added.
Though the second-story plaza areas that surround the building will be enclosed, some outdoor space will be retained as balcony areas that will overlook the campus and Girard Park, Ziler said.
Crist said the project is expected to go out for bids sometime in January and construction should begin in February or March and continue for about 12 months.