Badin Hall reopens to residents after year of renovations
Natalie Weber | Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Approximately 121 years have passed since Badin Hall was first constructed. And over the course of more than a century, it has served many functions — including an industrial school, a bookstore and post office.
Now a women’s residence hall, the building has undergone a year of renovations that aim to upgrade the building while maintaining its unique, traditional characteristics.
“I think everyone’s just really excited about it because [the architects] really did do what they promised with keeping the character of the building,” senior and resident assistant Meridith Balbach said. “So really, I think we still have our pride in that we’re a tiny dorm that still has a lot of old rich tradition.”
Sister Sue Sisko, Badin’s rector, said the most noticeable change is the addition of a new chapel, donated through Peter and Nancy Baranay and their children.
“I think the crowning jewel of the entire renovation is a magnificent new chapel, through the graciousness of our donors,” Sisko said. “And so, that I think, is the biggest change, in Badin. It’s not the only change — there were certainly many other things that happened — but I think for me and for many other residents, the chapel is just magnificent.”
The chapel includes early 20th-century stained glass windows, donated by alumni Charles Hayes and Jon Ritten. The windows were originally designed by Zettler Studios in Munich, Germany, and preserved from a former Chicago convent, Hayes said.
”I think [Badin] was an industrial building, but it was not a residence hall and it definitely did not have a chapel,” he said. “But if it had a chapel, they probably would’ve ordered the windows from this company or something like it at that point in time because the windows were very consistent, design-wise, to Badin Hall.”
Residents are also excited about the addition of new, air-conditioned lounges and kitchens on every floor, senior and resident assistant Arwa Mohammad said.
“People are actively making efforts to come sit in the lounge spaces as opposed to just passing by,” she said. “They hang out there, which is nice. People in Badin tend to be very social anyway but I really feel like the air conditioning has helped facilitate that.”
Beyond these new additions, the dorm has combined more single rooms into doubles and undergone a host of smaller renovations.
“It’s really like Badin got a facelift,” Balbach said. “They painted the walls, they got new carpet and it’s all a little more color-coordinated to be a bit of a light green to fit [our mascot’s] bullfrog theme, which is really cool.”
Ultimately, Sisko said, the renovations have given Badin residents a number of new opportunities to gather in the hall and build community.
“We’re a close knit community because we’re the smallest women’s hall on campus so everyone knows everyone,” she said. “We’ve always been that way and had a strong community. I think this is only going to strengthen it more because of all the spaces where they can gather.”