Over the course of the fall and winter, contractors have labored tirelessly, renovating the Mary Baldwin University Alumnae House in time for the All-Alumni Homecoming Weekend, April 20–23.
The Colonial Revival, two-story house designed by architect Sam Collins in 1913 is located on the edge of campus on North Coalter Street. After MBU purchased and renovated the house in the mid-1980s, the building housed the alumni office and part of the communication and marketing department until the early 2010s. Guest rooms on the second floor were used for campus visitors.
“Since the Alumnae House was acquired by Mary Baldwin and dedicated during Homecoming Weekend in 1983, this has served as a home for our alumni,” Lewis said. “Now, through the generosity of [Class of 1969 alumna] Jane Townes as leadership donor who set in motion a challenge campaign that brought us to this day, we will once again refresh this historic home as a vibrant space for alumni visiting campus.”
Renovations have included new roofing and updated woodwork on the porch and front steps, new storm windows, and landscaping.
Looking inside, the house renovations have included an elegant event and meeting space, restoration of the living room and dining room on the first floor of the house to the original pre-1984 configuration. A modern catering kitchen is also available now along with two handicap accessible restrooms, in addition to more storage space. New heating and air conditioning units were also added.
Four guest rooms and private baths on the second floor were renovated with modern fixtures, finishes, and furnishings. One room has a queen bed, another has twin beds, and there is also a sleeper sofa in another so that the room may serve as either a den or bedroom on as needed basis. There is another small room on the second floor that Brent Douglass, director of facilities management, refers to as “the reading nook.”
One unique addition to the house is the instillation of Mary Julia Baldwin’s bed in one of the guest bedrooms. Previously kept in storage, the antique bed will be showcased and used for the first time since the school’s founder slept on it.
Douglass said he is happy to see the house used for its intended purpose.
“We are returning the house to its original intended function for the alumni,” Douglass said. “We look forward to having nice guest accommodations, and I think we captured and retained some of the important architectural aspects of the house.”
Guests will also see the personalized brick pavers along the outside walkway leading up to the house. At the beginning of the academic year, Mary Baldwin launched a brick campaign in which donors of $500 or more could obtain a personalized brick and see their names, class year, or a personalized message engraved on the pavers to be installed in the front walkway of the Alumnae House. More than 175 bricks have been purchased so far, meeting and exceeding University President Pamela Fox’s call to action.
Contractors are adding last-minute touches to the house, such as additional painting and interior floor work, that will be ready for its grand re-opening and dedication at 5 p.m. on Saturday April 22.