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Old Main Refurbishment

History and Vision

Old Main was dedicated in 1889. With an architectural style patterned after the main building at Uppsala University in Sweden and the addition of a dome, Old Main became a notable landmark in the community and among early institutions of higher education.

For well over a century, as enrollment and the campus have grown, Augustana has been a thoughtful steward of this academic building. Changes to Old Main during the past century have accommodated classroom and office needs; addressed appearance, safety, comfort, and energy issues; and restored historic Cable Hall on the second floor to its early 20th century character. The building has remained home to departments historically linked to the liberal arts, and plans call for classics, English, history, philosophy, political science, religion, sociology/anthropology, speech communication, and women's and gender studies to remain in Old Main.

Without question, Old Main is the signature building on Augustana's campus - an architectural icon both for the college and surrounding community - as well as an enduring symbol of the liberal arts. However, Old Main faces serious and urgent issues that compromise its structural integrity and its viability as an effective academic building. To address these issues, the refurbishment project will:

· Replace the dome and repair other exterior areas that are failing;

· Modernize classrooms by adding teaching and learning technology to accommodate the needs of faculty and students in today's highly interactive, global environment;

· Reclaim the space once used as the college's chapel to create a two-floor forum space for lectures and presentations; and

· Update faculty offices and seminar rooms that will support the close interaction between students and faculty that defines the Augustana experience.

The impact of refurbishing Old Main will be felt throughout campus and the surrounding community. This project will:

· Enhance the learning environment for students and faculty in the core liberal arts disciplines;

· Help in recruiting and retaining a strong student body;

· Rejuvenate an architectural icon that has existed in the community and on campus for more than 100 years; and

· Provide through the forum space additional opportunities for residents of the surrounding community to attend lectures and presentations open to the public.


The Board of Trustees anticipates spending $13 million to refurbish Old Main. The Campus Planning Committee of the Board will engage the services of an architectural firm that has experience with these types of projects to identify the scope of the work that can be accomplished within this range and to address the project's priorities.

As mentioned earlier, the Old Main refurbishment project is one of four featured capital projects identified in the campus master plan. These projects are included in the $100 million comprehensive campaign, Authentically Augustana: A Call to Action, authorized by the Board of Trustees to support the college's strategic plan. Specifically, the Board seeks to raise $30 million for capital projects, $50 million for endowment, and $20 million for annual operations.

We invite you to consider your role in making Old Main - the one campus building that links every living Augustana graduate - a landmark academic resource that thrives well into the future.