Before and after: students, staff breathe new life into Eldred Hall

After years of planning and renovations, Eldred Hall—the first student center of Adelbert College of Western Reserve University—has gone back to its roots. With broad support from student organizations and university leadership, the historic hall in the heart of Case Quad has been brought back to life as a student-focused space.

The Case Western Reserve community celebrated Eldred Hall’s grand re-opening Sept. 8 with an open house, refreshments and remarks from President Eric W. Kaler and Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Peter Whiting. Director of Student Centers Kristin Urig, Senior Assistant Director for the Office of Multicultural Affairs Randy Blackford and Senior Associate Dean of Students Arlet Wright were also on hand to share how their teams helped bring CWRU students’ vision for the space to fruition.

“We wanted to create a space for student programming, performing and hanging out,” said Wright. “It’s meant to be a space where all students feel welcome and represented, and we really tried to reflect that in the rooms.”

The new Eldred Hall—which most recently housed the Department of Theater before its transition to the Maltz Performing Arts Center—now functions as a multicultural-themed space for student group performances and practice, a convenient study area on the quad, and a venue for social gatherings.

The space includes a 150-seat auditorium, as well as an atrium, lounge and several multi-purpose rooms designed for meetings, meditation, events and more. Each room features artwork and artifacts from different underrepresented cultural groups, including African American, Hispanic/Latine, Pacific Islander and Native American/Indigenous peoples. The art decorating the space was sourced from artists originating from the communities highlighted in each room. 

Eldred Hall’s transformation is thanks in large part to the efforts of student groups such as University Media Board—whose members drafted the initial proposal—the Student Presidents’ Roundtable, Undergraduate Diversity Collaborative and Undergraduate Student Government, whose members all chose to donate their unallocated funds toward the project.

“All the elements of the space are so intentional, but it will actually continue to evolve,” said Wright. “I hope that every time someone visits the space, they notice something they didn’t see before—every visit is a unique experience.”