North Hall continued to serve as a women’s dormitory until 1976 when Cedarcrest opened. North Hall’s first two floors were then utilized as office space until the early 1980’s, and the basement housed the TV studio. The campus police station was located on the northwest corner of the ground floor of the North wing. Today this section of the building serves as a staff/faculty lounge and a tutoring center for athletes.
North Hall was closed in 1982. It was at this time plans to save the building and re-renovate it into a usable, modern facility began to take shape.
Things really began to press forward when President Rod Kelchner was named president in 1983. He had long opposed the state’s plans to demolish the building and now was in a better position to take the necessary steps to save it. He spent many hours lobbying in Harrisburg to save the building, obtaining the necessary funding, and helping to determine that the building become a library.
“North Hall embodies the spirit of Mansfield,” Kelchner said. “A spirit that I often referred to as ‘dogged determination.’ The history of our school is characterized by struggle and challenge. Beginning with a fire that destroyed the original building Seminary Building just four months after it opened, to a series of fiscal issues, enrollment challenges, and threats to close the school. Mansfield survived many struggles. North Hall is a microcosm of similar challenges. From the centerpiece of the campus which housed classrooms, student rooms, the Office of the President, a dining hall, and meeting rooms, it slowly deteriorated to a dilapidated structure that was a campus eyesore. However, Mansfield always came back. It overcame challenge after challenge and emerged stronger and stronger.”
Other key players in the preservation of North Hall were Library Director Dr. Larry Nesbitt,and Bill Yost, vice president for administration and finance. In 1984, the general assembly appropriated $6 million funding for the renovation project. State Representative Fred Noye, MU class of ’68, was influential in persuading the general assembly to appropriate the funds. The original plan was to renovate the structure into a student center. Later it was determined that North Hall would better serve as a library. However, it was a long time before the funds were actually released. The battle to save North Hall was a long and difficult one.