Dec 13, 2012 8:33 PM by Erin Steuber
UL students, alumni and faculty have mixed feeling about the emergency facelift planned for Fletcher Hall. There's even a Facebook page to save the building. Years of maintenance problems have caused it to deteriorate.
Fletcher Hall has suffered extensive water damage since it opened in1976.
"From the first day I came here, the issues we've been wrestling with were present. Water leakage, classrooms we couldn't use," said Professor Brian Kelly.
The renovation will reseal, and refinish, the entire exterior of the building, enclosing all open air spaces.
"We create a lot of beautiful stuff over here," said student Tristan Broussard. "For us to not have a building that supports that, or actually compliments our artwork, is pretty disappointing."
Those opposed to the project say they understand the renovations are desperately needed, but think the new plan should better reflect the buildings original design.
"You need to be sensitive to what is there," said former UL Professor Herman Mire. "Come up with a solution that takes advantage of new ideas, creativity, innovation, so it enhances the structure."
The building was originally designed 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 wood ceilings were supposed to be protected. Now, years of rain have left the building with extensive leaks and irreversible damage.
"We've reached a point where we have to try something drastic to get the problem solved," said UL Facilities Director William Crist. "It's not acceptable to have water leaking with students having their computers, and have their electronics and things. It shouldn't have taken 35 years to solve the problem."
Fletcher Hall houses the College of Arts' School of Architecture and Design, and the Department of Visual Arts. The project has received more than $4 million from the state. Construction is scheduled to begin in February, and is expected to be completed within a year.