Wells Hall

Location: East Lansing, MI, USA


History: All three versions of Wells Hall were named after Hezekiah G. Wells, board president. The first Wells Hall was built in 1877 as a dormitory that housed 130 students. It burned in 1905 and was replaced in 1907 by a larger dormitory structure that was sectioned off into six wards in order to reduce both the hazard of fire and the noise from so many students. In 1938, the second Wells Hall housed 200 students. During the 166-1967 academic years, the second structure was razed to make room for an addition to the Main Library. In 1968, at a cost of $5.4 million, construction began on the third Wells Hall.

Architecture: The vertical and horizontal expansion to the existing one-story facility required drilling over 100 micro-piles under and threading 8 columns through the existing structure to support the 3-story addition. The vertical 3-story addition spans across the existing B-wing and includes a 2-story atrium, a coffee shop to promote faculty and student interactions, three new classrooms and language labs, a presentation auditorium with custom shades and sensors, a blend of private and open office environments, and a clear east-west corridor that invites people into and through the building. Also included is a 1-story section that extends out toward Red Cedar Road that is topped by a green roof.

Departments: The current construction project of Wells Hall will create a language hub, including English; Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian, and African Languages; Spanish and Portuguese; English Language Center and French, Classics, and Italian. Religious studies and African American studies also will be relocated to the new Wells Hall.

Fun Fact: Board president Wells was responsible for saving the Morrill Land-Grant Act and for preventing the transfer of the university to the jurisdiction and site of the University of Michigan during the school’s early years.

Order: Stop 8

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