Reimagining Alumnae Hall

Imagine the delight of Trinity students on that day in 1929 when they first entered the magnificent dining rooms in Alumnae Hall, illuminated with sunlight streaming in from 32 large arched windows shining on the gleaming terrazzo floor.

Grand chandeliers lit the decorative molding of the beautiful high ceilings, while walls clad with handsome dark oak lent a baronial atmosphere to meals.

Generations of Trinity students have enjoyed the same grand vision of Alumnae Hall whose main dining rooms are largely the same as they were on that very first day.

Imagine the joy of those first students at the end of the 1920’s who, at long last, had the opportunity to have their very own private rooms, the suites of rooms joined by private washrooms, and a comfortable lounge to call their own — away from Main Hall — such was the height of luxury for college women in that day!

Alumnae Hall remains popular for residence and dining for Trinity Women today!

Remember the camaraderie of smoker sings in Alumnae basement, long philosophical debates in the upstairs lounge, sun-soaked afternoons lounging on the terrace in the spring. Alumnae across the generations each have their own fond memories of spending part of each day in Alumnae Hall.

Even grand visions and popular spaces grow old with the years as once-acceptable conditions become puzzling (sometimes, infuriating) to new generations.

A dining hall without air conditioning is impossible to use in the Washington summers; the kitchen staff cannot work in the heat.

Pipes carrying steam heat from the boilers in Main Hall corrode across a century of use, and the steam heat is almost impossible to control; window air conditioners in the student rooms (often running in winter to counter the excessive steam heat) fail modern expectations for a “green” campus.

The once-charming cage elevator often does not work and parts are impossible to find. Steel windows corrode and wood windows rot.

Ancient plumbing in the washrooms connecting the student rooms too often leaks into the dining rooms below.

Accessibility and security are significant challenges.

Imagine the Renaissance

Trinity now embarks on an ambitious project to preserve the beauty of Alumnae Hall while making its capacious spaces and attractive private rooms more comfortable and functional.

Trinity is reimagining Alumnae Hall, seeking not to change its essential form in the least, but rather to ensure the vibrant life of this building for future generations of the campus community.

We seek nothing less than a genuine renaissance of Alumnae Hall.

Re-Imagining Alumnae Hall Includes:

  • Air conditioning at long last! This project will install an entirely new HVAC system.
  • A new kitchen on the lower level and new servery on the dining hall level equipped to prepare and serve delicious full meals and casual dining options.
  • New plumbing and fixtures throughout, and new restrooms near the dining hall.
  • New elevators.
  • Refurbished interiors in the dining halls and student rooms upstairs, upgraded for life safety and security systems throughout.
  • New and refurbished windows.
  • An accessible entrance with a ramp and auto open doors.

All of this will occur with careful attention to preserving important historic details while modernizing the comfort and functionality of the building.

The renaissance of Alumnae Hall will create a true campus center that welcomes all students, both resident and commuter, as well as faculty, staff, conference guests, alumnae and visitors. With a reimagined Alumnae Hall, all members of the campus community and visitors will be able to gather throughout the day to eat, to meet, to study, to enjoy the grandeur of the historic spaces in this beautiful building.

Reimagining Alumnae Hall as a Campus Center will provide a welcome companion space for the beautiful new Payden Academic Center just steps away, and will also tie more effectively to the adjoining Trinity Center for Women and Girls in Sports.

A Hub for All Campus Activities

The Renaissance of Alumnae Hall will make this historic building the true campus center, a hub of student, faculty, staff and visitor activities connecting easily to all ofthe other major academic and recreational buildings. The primary campus shuttle stop will be located between Alumnae Hall and the Payden Academic Center, allowing easy access for all commuters who want to grab a cup of coffee or have some quiet study time in the lounge before heading to class and labs, or to Main Hall for business and meetings.

Alumnae Hall’s connections to the Trinity Sports Center will become even easier with the renovation. And the grand entrance to Alumnae Hall will become fully accessible with a beautiful ramp permitting direct access through the front door.

Dining is central to the student experience at Trinity and in colleges everywhere.

Modernizing Alumnae Hall will make it possible to provide food service in ways that satisfy contemporary customers.

For Alumnae, Faculty Visitors too…..

Instead of a cafeteria line, the servery will be more like a food court with more selections prepared according to the tastes of each diner.

A more modern design also makes it possible to have dining options open throughout the day, more convenient for commuter students, faculty and staff, and visitors who want to get a cup of coffee or sandwich outside of more traditional meal hours…

Student Residence Improvements…

  • Lounge renovations will add modern HVAC, carpeting, new lighting and more comfortable furniture
  • New plumbing and fixtures will improve the washrooms that join student rooms
  • Residential renovations will make student rooms “green” by removing window air conditioners and steam heat, replaced with modern HVAC units
  • New carpeting and lighting will improve hallways

Additional Benefits of the Alumnae Hall Renaissance…

Members of the campus community also expect Trinity’s buildings to have comfortable heating and air conditioning systems; to have modern fire suppression and alarm systems; to have functional elevators and appropriate accessibility as well as good security. The renovation of Alumnae Hall will ensure all of these objectives.

Trinity is also committed to being a “green” campus, and D.C. law requires every college and university to satisfy environmental sustainability standards within the next decade. Renovating Alumnae Hall will earn Leed Silver certification for that building.

The District of Columbia requires universities to attend to historic preservation. Alumnae Hall will be 100 years old in 2029, a great age for a great building. The demand for historic preservation requires Trinity to make this project a priority even as the project also meets many other university priorities.

The Renaissance of Alumnae Hall will support Trinity’s durability and quality throughout the remaining decades of the 21st Century and on into the 22nd.