Most houses are places that families call home. The house at 11310 Juniper Drive is no different. Soon, it also will be a place for a family. However, instead of a few relatives, thousands of Case Western Reserve University alumni will be able to refer to The Alumni House as their home on the university's campus.
"It speaks to alumni that they have a place to belong—and that they belong to it," Nicole Ingram, director of alumni marketing and communications, said about the new house specifically designated for all alumni.
The Alumni House will serve as home base for all of the diverse alumni constituencies affiliated with the university. It's official opening and dedication is scheduled for October 4 during Alumni Weekend and Homecoming. During the celebration, graduates returning to campus will check-in for Alumni Weekend at the house. Tours will be available throughout the weekend, with current and future alumni serving as docents of The Alumni House.
The house will be a place where graduates can hold meetings and small special events. Alumni visiting campus and the University Circle area will be able to use the business center within the house to catch up on e-mails, send out faxes and work on other business-related activities. Other amenities will include a parlor and lounge, a library, a boardroom for alumni association board meetings and a kitchen and pantry area. In addition, the Office of University Alumni Relations will be headquartered at the house so the staff can interact more intimately with graduates who drop in for a visit.
But perhaps most importantly, The Alumni House will be a place where old friends can reconnect. Photos of university alumni from various years will be displayed throughout, and comfortable furniture will beckon alums to sit down and catch up with each other.
"It speaks to the essence of home," Ingram explained.
Possible plans also include displaying memorabilia from all of the schools affiliated with the university.
"We've shown it to alumni groups, and they're very excited. They said it really feels like an alumni house," said Dan Clancy, executive director of the Alumni Association of Case Western Reserve University and university alumni relations, who also is a 1962 graduate of the Case Western Reserve School of Law.
John Massie, The Alumni House project consultant and a 1966 Case Institute of Technology graduate, said the entire campus community will have opportunities to utilize the house.
"We hope it will be a magnet for attracting all in the university family. Professors can give informal talks in the lounge. Students can hold meetings and mingle with alumni. Even parents visiting their children can hang out here," Massie said.
According to Ingram, the location near current student housing is important.
"Our mission is to connect alumni with the campus community, and for future alumni—current students—to stop by and meet alums," she said.
Alumni groups from the graduate and professional schools can look to the house and the university alumni relations staff as a resource. In addition, the house will serve as a physical vessel and resource for connecting university departments and offices with the overall alumni base.
Built in 1911 and purchased by the university in 1953, The Alumni House is the only one on the street with a circular drive. It was most recently occupied by PerceptIS and from 1985-2005 Nottingham Spirk made its headquarters there.
In preparation for the grand opening during Alumni Weekend and Homecoming, the house will undergo major renovations during the spring and summer. The first floor interior will be restored to its original look, an elevator will be added, new heating and air conditioning systems will be installed, wireless technology will be implemented, ramps will be installed, a full bathroom will be renovated so that alumni can freshen up between meetings and events, the front porch will be enlarged and a patio will be added to the back.
Richard Bowen, a 1959 Adelbert College alumnus, is the architect, along with Margaret Carney, university architect. Construction is being handled by Marous Brothers Construction with William Tarka as the construction manager from Case Western Reserve.
"A lot of the amenities are things alums said were needs or were important," said Massie, who also is involved in development and fundraising for the project.
The Alumni House is Phase One of the overall Alumni Center Project. Currently, Phase Two plans include an Alumni Hall featuring a great room with a seating capacity of 250, as well as additional meeting and office space. A completion date has not been set.
To date, approximately $5.2 million in cash, pledges and will commitments has been raised. Massie said fundraising is ongoing to help support maintenance and upkeep, as well as Phase Two of the Alumni Center Project. Naming options for various aspects of the project are available.
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