Mary Baldwin Announces Construction Project: Bailey Residence Hall to be replaced with new building

March 25, 2001

On March 26, Mary Baldwin University announced that Bailey Residence Hall, once the Kings Daughters Hospital of Staunton, will be taken down and a new structure erected in its place.

“Because $3 million remains from the $10 million anonymous gift that funded the Administration Building project, the Grafton Library modernization, and various other projects around campus, Mary Baldwin has the opportunity to make another major capital improvement in the coming year. The remainder of the money will go toward the PEG residence hall and office building,” comments college spokeswoman Crista Cabe. “The time is right: we have a great need and the money to take care of it at the same time.”

Bailey Hall, built in 1905 and most recently renovated 56 years ago, has become practically unworkable as a living and working space. It currently houses the college’s Program for the Exceptionally Gifted offices and younger students as well as some traditionally aged students. Never an ideal residence hall for PEG or space for other college programs for a variety of reasons, in the past several years it has become more and more difficult to keep the building functioning. The mechanical systems, especially the heating, have deteriorated greatly. Fire and life safety systems are minimal.

Working with Phillip Renfrow of Geier Brown Renfrow Architects, the college has assessed the alternatives and concluded that demolition of the current structure and construction of a new building is necessary. In addition to mechanical system deterioration, the layout and structure of the building are unsuitable for the college’s needs and highly inflexible because of multiple floor levels and interior bearing walls. In addition to costing much more than the college has available to spend, renovating the building to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act would be both difficult and costly. Mary Baldwin plans for the project to be completed by August of 2002.

In the announcement to the Mary Baldwin community, Cabe stated that “In making this decision, the college has of course carefully considered the issue of historic value. Although Mary Baldwin University has several historic landmarks on campus, Bailey is not one of them. Built in 1905 as Kings Daughters Hospital, it was purchased by the college in 1951, thoroughly remodeled, and reopened in 1955 as Bailey Residence Hall. Not a particularly unique building or of architectural significance, it has changed greatly over the years so that it no longer resembles the original hospital building. So, although it may hold sentimental value for some long-time Staunton residents, it does not merit the extraordinary and costly measures it would require to save the building.

“We are confident that the new building that is being designed will be more attractive and more in keeping with other Mary Baldwin architecture than is the case with Bailey. The streetscape should improve as a result. The new PEG center ‘ whatever we end up calling it ’ will provide an excellent environment for the people who will live and work there and will also be a visually pleasing addition to the campus and the city.”

If all goes according to plan, Mary Baldwin will begin the process of seeking a demolition permit in early April. In June, after the end of the academic year, hazardous materials must be removed before demolition can occur. A new foundation will be in place before students return to campus in August.

Mary Baldwin University is a multi-faceted liberal arts college in Staunton, Virginia, with three residential programs for women – the traditional program, the Program for the Exceptionally Gifted, and the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership – as well as coeducational, non-residential Adult Degree and master’s programs. Mary Baldwin offers the B.A. and/or the B.S. in 32 majors, the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) with K-8 emphasis, the Master of Letters (M.Litt.) in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature in Performance, and post-graduate teaching licensure (PGTL). The oldest women’s college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., Mary Baldwin was founded in 1842 and is also the first women’s college to be granted a circle of the national leadership honor society Omicron Delta Kappa. It is one of only 262 colleges and universities to house a chapter of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honor society.

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