Campaign begins to turn Stewart Hall into new Alumni House
By LAUREN CAPPUCCIO
SHIPPENSBURG >> Organizers at Shippensburg University have announced plans to turn Stewart Hall into a new alumni house and have started a campaign to restore the historic building.
The campaign was given its first boost when Gary and Mary Jo Grove pledged to match donations — up to a total gift of $500,000.
The couple co-chairs the Charting the Course, Lighting the Way, the Campaign for Shippensburg University, which is part of the SU Foundation’s $45 million comprehensive plan.
Dr. Jody Harpster, interim president of SU, said that the goal of the project is to raise $1.5 to $2 million for the restoration, which they estimate will cost a total of $4 million. The hope is that they can find funding for the rest of the project.
Stewart Hall, built in 1894, is part of the historic quad, which includes Old Main, Horton Hall, Gilbert Hall and the Martin House — all listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The building has been a gymnasium, dormitory, student recreation center and the home of the Department of Communication/Journalism.
The new master plan calls for the former raised track will be turned into an area to showcase memorabilia and the first floor to be an area for exhibits, meetings and receptions.
“Our vision for this building is that it once again will be a center of activity,” Harpster said.
The Groves met in 1967 at the university and had their first date at a dance at the hall.
“I immediately thought it was love at first sight,” Gary said.
Mary Jo said they decided to spearhead the effort because the work should be done by the generation that remembers the good times of the building.
John Muscarella, president of the SU Alumni Association, said that there are around 64,000 alumni and in the next 10 years, the number will exceed 100,000.
“The intent is that Stewart will become a home-base for those looking forward to coming back,” he said.