Parsons Foundation Grants $500,000 for Renovation of Swan Hall
The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation has awarded a $500,000 grant to Occidental College for the renovation and expansion of historic Swan Hall, a building central to the life of the college that houses one-third of its faculty.
The Parsons grant will help preserve the historic fabric of the original Swan Hall, built in 1914 as one of the first structures on Occidental's Eagle Rock campus, and build a new addition that will more than double the space for six academic departments.
"This is the college's most important building project," said Occidental President Jonathan Veitch. "A renovated and expanded Swan Hall will be both the symbol and substance of our mission to serve a gifted, diverse group of students. The Parsons Foundation's generosity will help make it possible for Swan Hall to be a vital part of that mission for the next 100 years."
Originally designed as a men's residence hall by noted architect Myron Hunt and placed at the center of campus, Swan was converted to office use in 1960. The project will contain modern offices, seminar rooms, instruction and lecture space, and psychology labs. The new 22,633-square-foot addition also will include a faculty commons and public spaces suitable for hosting distinguished visitors.
The original exterior fabric of the 1914 building, including the roof, windows, doors, and stucco, will be preserved in keeping with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Historic Preservation. A blown concrete structural system on the interior will provide needed seismic reinforcement. The addition of an elevator will make the entire building accessible for the first time, and the project is designed to meet LEED silver standard, the internationally recognized green building certification system.
Scheduled for completion in fall 2012, the Swan project will house Occidental's departments of psychology, American studies, history, politics, sociology, and English and comparative literary studies.
Ontario-based architect Brian R. Bloom designed the $19.8 million project, for which a formal groundbreaking will be held June 4. Bloom has extensive experience working on historic college buildings, including projects at Pomona College, USC, and the University of Redlands.
The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, an independent grantmaking philanthropy, supports and facilitates the work of Southern California's best nonprofit organizations, recognizing that many of those in need today will shape the region's future. The foundation is celebrating 33 years of grantmaking in 2011.