Mansfield University of Pennsylvania

Developing Tomorrow's Leaders
Mansfield: 150 Years of History

North Hall P. 3

 

North Hall did not undergo any other major renovations until the summer of 1930 when the atrium/well openings were covered with flooring and the rails were removed. The atrium openings were considered a fire hazard, and sealing off these openings was a preventative measure as there were no sprinkler systems at the time. Many students were disappointed about the changes, and groups of students would often gather around the banisters on each level of the atrium to sing. According to local historian Stephen Orner, girls also used to leave their outgoing mail on the banisters of the well.
In the mid 20th Century,  the Women’s Dormitory underwent another face-lift. In 1950, the kitchen was modernized. In the summer of 1953 fire escapes were installed, the 10 dormers were removed, and a new slate roof was added.  Students on each of the women’s floors decorated over what was the atrium at Christmas time and had contests to determine the best decorated floor.
The 1960’s were a time of great change on campus. Mansfield State Teachers College became  Mansfield State College.
The face of the entire campus was evolving as new dormitories and Manser Dining Hall were constructed. The completion of these facilities left vacant space in North Hall. Some areas of the building were turned into office space, commuter lounges, classrooms, and computer rooms. The print shop and A/V studio were also there. State officials by this time were nervous about the continued use of the building as a residence hall due to the outdated wiring the in building which was considered a fire hazard. All inhabitants were moved to the first two floors where special outlets were added to handle modern appliances. 
By the early 1960’s, plans were in the making to tear down North Hall and replace It with both a student center (Memorial Hall) and a parking lot. The grand staircase on the west side of the building was removed in 1969 to make room for Memorial Hall.
Since the plan was to demolish North Hall, Memorial was built beside it, where the North Hall entrance stairs had been. Plans called for part of Memorial Hall to be built over a portion of North Hall site, but because of strong protests to save the North Hall, architects had to change their plans and re-design Memorial, which was completed in 1970.
According to former Mansfield Archivist Robert Unger, in 1974 when MU was under the direction of President Lawrence Park, the general assembly appropriated a quarter of a million dollars to demolish North Hall in hopes of receiving funding for a more modern facility.
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