Anderson Hall reopened in time for new semester: Students marvel in the beauty of new academic space

On Monday, Feb. 6 Gustavus students piled in the doors of the highly anticipated renovated A.H. Anderson Hall for the first day of spring semester classes.

“I was full on skipping, jumping, giggling, and crying! I ran around as fast as I could to try to soak up how beautiful it is and just how lucky we are!” Junior Molly Moran said.

The building has been under renovation since last January. Watching the progress being made each week created an immense amount of suspense across campus. Students and faculty were all extremely eager to see the finished project. Much like receiving an incredible present that you couldn’t open until the time was right.

“Walking into Anderson for the first time I couldn’t believe what an unbelievable space we now have to learn in! Anderson Hall is something that the education department has really been looking forward to and now the whole campus is able to enjoy the beauty of a wonderful building that will most importantly provide students with the resources they need for a successful college experience and better yet, to prep them for their futures as educators” Senior Education Major Alissa Hoffman said.

The building is located on the College’s main academic mall and is an inviting space for education, advising, and faith exploration. Gustavus Adolphus College’s ability to complete this renovation was in part due to multiple philanthropic gifts, which helped fund the Anderson Hall project.

The renovated building is now the home to the Department of Education, the College’s Center for Academic Resources and Enhancement (CARE) previously known as the Academic Support Center, Accessibility Resources, the John S. Kendall Center for Engaged Learning, and a new space for the multifaith center.

The building includes a three-story open gathering space to encourage collaboration and group work for both students and faculty, multiple offices for faculty, meeting rooms, lounges for students and staff, and many other resources. These departments and centers all brought their own ideas to the overall renovation project. Being the main department in the building, the Education Department provided input.

“The education faculty and students provided ideas for the building design about four years ago. We discussed what would be the optimal space for developing and hopefully expanding the education program, and our ideas were put on paper by the architects,” Professor and Chair of the Education Department Deb Pitton said.

There are a number of new and exciting things that come with the newly renovated building.

“We now have space for all of the engaged learning that we use in our classes and expect our education majors to practice. Having rooms like the student lounge, the atrium and curriculum library all provide space for our students to work, collaborate and explore their teaching knowledge and skills. In addition, our classrooms are large enough to have space for small groups within class sessions. All of this space enables the Education Department to live out the philosophy of engaged learning,” Pitton said.

Finally having a large and welcoming space for education majors to work is both exciting and beneficial, and has the community engaged.

Education majors Alicia Lhotka and Amy Rose have begun utilizing the new Anderson Hall common space for studying.

“The reopening of Anderson Hall gives students more great places to study, and brings together resources like academic advising, accessibility resources, and the Writing Center into one centralized location,” Interim Director of the Center for Academic Resources And Enrichment Katherine Knutson said.

This beautiful building is a gift, which is very valuable to both students and faculty.

“I am most excited for the future teachers of the education program to be able to use Anderson Hall to learn how to become a successful educator, as well as the professors to be able to use this great space to teach. As an Elementary Education Major, it is so important to be able to learn how to use the materials present in the classrooms, and the new building is able to provide these materials for our education majors to use, like SMART Boards, a larger learning space, a large curriculum lab, and classrooms that are set as typical school classrooms for a more realistic environment to practice in,” Hoffman commented.

For the Education Department, moving over from Mattson Hall was a big change. Many students and faculty felt bittersweet.

“Mattson Hall was a space that was really the “home” of all education students, and that will always be the place that I call home. I have made so many memories there and have met so many wonderful people, who are not only some of my closest friends but also now fellow teachers. I will miss the closeness that we shared (literally because of the small space) and all of the experiences I had. It was and will always be the “Trailer Park” that my fellow teacher classmates and I called home,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman was one of the few students who was a part of the last education class to be held in Mattson.

“My classmates and I were the last class in Mattson, the building that hosted elementary and secondary education for quite some time and that is something very special to me. We were able to be a part of making, wrapping up and concluding so many memories in that building. Having more space in Anderson is such a blessing, but I wouldn’t trade all the memories and friends that I have made in Mattson for anything,” Hoffman said.

The Gustavus community is excited for the renovations, and hope that the A.H. Anderson Hall will be a home for such an incredible educational space for many years to come.