Colorado College has been awarded a $400,000 grant from Denver-based Boettcher Foundation to help fund the renovation of 100-year-old Palmer Hall.
This grant will further a project that is reconfiguring learning and collaborative spaces in the college’s largest classroom building. Work on the building began in the fall and will continue throughout this year. The scope of the renovation includes redistributing space for classrooms, many of which are being outfitted with state-of-the-art audiovisual, new media and wireless Internet capabilities.
“We are now much closer to our final goal,” said Steve Elder, the college’s vice president for advancement. “It is a huge percentage of the balance we have to raise.”
The capital campaign for the Centennial Renovation project was launched with a commitment of $1 million from the El Pomar Foundation. In March, the Adolph Coors Foundation granted $400,000 toward the project. Trustees have pledged $300,000, while alumni, faculty and friends of the college have made individual gifts. The Boettcher funding is in the form of a challenge grant, which will be contingent upon the securing the remaining money necessary for the $4 million project. With the grant, the campaign now has more than $2.4 million of its goal.
The Boettcher Foundation has contributed significantly to Colorado College over the years. It provided $500,000 toward the Barnes Science Center in 1988 and $300,000 toward the Russell T. Tutt Science Center in 2001. It provides $15,000 per year for Boettcher Opportunity Awards for underrepresented students; and full scholarships for every Boettcher Scholar (27 this year) attending Colorado College.
Palmer Hall, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Properties, was completed in 1904 at a total cost of $284,589, with equipment valued at $42,529. The final structure, housing the natural sciences including chemistry, physics, assaying, mineralogy, geology and biology labs plus a 160-seat demonstration hall, lecture room and botanical and zoological collections, contained 68,894 square feet.
In the early 1960s, Palmer Hall’s function changed, with the building beginning to house the social sciences. In the mid-1970s, a major renovation of the building resulted in the redesign of 23 classrooms to make them more suitable for Block Plan teaching, with smaller, more intimate classes.
In 2003, the construction of the Russell T. Tutt Science Center completed a triad of science complexes, including Barnes Science Center and Olin Hall of Science. The natural sciences, except for much of geology, were moved to the new facility.
Palmer Hall houses Colorado College’s business and economics, education, geology, history, political science and sociology departments. In addition, thousands of community members participate in lectures and other events in Palmer’s Gates Common Room, and elementary school students and teachers utilize the building for Whiz Bang Summer Science camps and a gifted and talented program.