Photo by Megan Fuller.
BELLA BUSSONE | STAFF REPORTER | email@example.com
Jordan Hall has stood proudly on Butler’s campus for nearly 100 years. Built in 1928, Jordan Hall has become a hub for several campus resources — such as the Center for Global Education and Student Disability Services — and was deemed a historic site by the National Register of Historic Places in June of 1983. While Jordan Hall has served as a symbol of Butler’s dedication to stellar academics, it has also been known to experience its own challenges. This is why the university is finalizing a plan to renovate the space — including a new roof.
This October was a rainy one. According to the National Weather Service, there were approximately 2.47 inches of precipitation in October, compared to the 1.42 total inches last October. Along with this rain came the buckets that appear under the leaks throughout Jordan Hall.
Manager of facilities and operations John Lacheta said that he has recorded and responded to several reports of water damage throughout the building. Lacheta and the University Operations Team have successfully repaired several of the leaks, however, they know that their job is never done. Although these are not long-term solutions, Lacheta emphasized that he and his team take the reports of damp ceilings and stairwells seriously.
“As issues arise, we resolve them to the best of our ability, even if it is only an intermediate step until permanent restoration can be completed,” Lacheta said in an email to The Butler Collegian.
First-year elementary education major Sarah Kuchler volunteered at the Athlete Leadership University (ALU) Conference in Jordan and attends her First-Year Seminar in the building. As Kuchler has settled into campus over the past few months, she has been surprised to see how often buckets litter the Jordan hallways.
“I feel like the building should be nice enough so that we can go there without there being damages,” Kuchler said. “But I also understand that it is a historical landmark which means it should be respected.”
The goals of the National Register of Historic Places are to help property owners preserve their possessions, as well as coordinate, identify and protect historic sites in the United States. In order to maintain the original presence of Jordan Hall, however, repairs to prevent future water damage are necessary. Lacheta has stressed that the restrictions put in place are to preserve the main facade of the building, and, otherwise, construction is permitted.
“[The University Operations Team] can do any and all maintenance necessary if the original appearance of the building is not changed,” Lacheta said. “There are very few restrictions on the inside of the building.”
In order to protect the historic nature of Jordan Hall, a complete makeover is nearly impossible, and according to few, somewhat unwanted.
Sophomore English major Mackenzie Inman spends four days a week in the building. With her English major falling under the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Inman’s curriculum is largely based out of Jordan Hall.
“I feel very comfortable in Jordan, especially in my major,” Inman said. “But I also feel like it is bad to just put a Band-Aid on everything because that could be a potential risk for the campus.”
Robert Stapleton, a senior lecturer in the English department, has been teaching in Jordan Hall and on the Butler campus for two decades, and said that the water damage in Jordan Hall has been persistent, but more frequent in the last 10 years. Stapleton has witnessed students endure the water leaks and believes they are worthy of a dry classroom.
“The students in this building — the English majors, the history majors, the math majors — are great students and do extraordinary work,” Stapleton said. “Like other students on campus, they deserve quality conditions and spaces that speak to our level of respect and appreciation for them.”
Fortunately, there is a mission in the works to save Jordan Hall. Lacheta said University Operations is collaborating with Butler’s offices of Advancement and the President’s Office for a complete Jordan Hall restoration. Details, including the timeline and finances, are unknown, but the long-term construction plan is to apply the method of renovation that was just completed on both east and west towers to the entire building. This includes a roof replacement and a repair method called tuckpointing, which is the process of mending the mortar joints where bricks lay. Lacheta said this combination of repairs will eliminate the water penetration in the whole building as it did with both of the towers.
Although there are plans to fully renovate the building, Lacheta admits that Jordan will need more tender love and care as time goes on. Yet, while humanities majors are left to soak in Jordan Hall, other students enjoy the luxury of newer buildings. Bill and Joanne Dugan Hall, the business building, opened in 2019, and Gallahue, Holcomb Building and Levinson Family Hall, the STEM buildings, have undergone major renovations which finished last year. Renovating Jordan Hall can only do so much to keep the historic building in favor with students, and glancing into the future, the building’s need for repairs seems endless.
“With a historical building like this, we need to keep focused on continuous improvements,” Lacheta said. “We also need to recognize that ongoing maintenance of these building components will always be necessary.”