LAFAYETTE, La. — Martin Hall at the University of Louisiana (UL) in Lafayette is undergoing long overdue maintenance this summer. Maintenance on the building is intended to update the main flooring, ceilings and walls in the main hallways, lobbies and stairwells, with new paint and tiles after long-term damage that has been caused by water leaks over time. In addition, all of the old fluorescent light fixtures are being replaced with updated LED lighting, keeping consistent with UL’s continued mission for a more sustainable environment on campus. UL’s goal is to complete the maintenance updates in time for the fall semester.
The building was originally built in 1963 when Old Martin Hall was demolished due to old age and deterioration. Martin Hall (old and new) serve as the primary administrative building where the Registrar’s Office, Admissions, Enrollment Management, Scholarship Office and Graduate School are located. With the exception of renovations of individual suites in the building, Martin Hall “hasn’t been touched” since it was first built, according to Bill Crist, director of facility management at UL. In addition to the work yet to be completed this summer, UL has spent the past few months removing asbestos that still remained in the building, and made repairs to the roof earlier this year.
Much of the work on Martin Hall has to be completed over the weekends and must be staged around the occupancy of the building, according to Crist, as the building is otherwise fully functional throughout the course of the entire year — summer being no exception. “What we’ve had to do is complete the work one hallway at a time over the weekends,” said Crist. “We start work on a Friday afternoon and have it done by Sunday night so nobody is endangered or inconvenienced.”
While the university waited close to 60 years to make updates to Martin Hall, renovation is not a new concept on campus. Fifteen new buildings have been constructed on campus over the past four years, according to Crist, including the new LEED Silver–certified Student Union, which was completed in spring of 2015. The long delay on updates to Martin Hall are simply “a matter of budget and priorities,” according to Crist, with administrative buildings simply not being as high of a priority as student or academic-related spaces. “We generally prioritize our student areas first, but at the end of the day, these things still need taking care of.”