Kickoff to GC residence hall renovations offers residents a piece of history

GOSHEN, Ind. – The first permanent residence hall to serve Goshen College students, built three years after the school located to Goshen in 1903, was Kulp Hall. It is appropriate then that Kulp Hall will be the first residence hall renovated in an upgrade “likely to exceed $8.5 million” to all the living spaces on campus over the next year and a half, according to GC Vice President of Student Life Bill Born.

As a beginning to the forthcoming renovations, a May 21 homemade ice cream social on the steps of Kulp Hall celebrated the building’s legacy with approximately 150 students, faculty, staff, alumni and community persons on hand to share memories.

Joe Springer, Mennonite Historical Library curator, shared a few of the interesting historical moments and memories experienced in Kulp, including the first recorded campus prank: a late-evening deposit of three sheep in a hallway on April Fool’s Day 1907.

A 1950 graduate and Kulp resident Mary Bender read a description of the 1930 building renovation written by 1933 graduate Lucille Kreider in the Goshen College Record. Jim Caskey, GC regional director of development, built on that with the story of his own residence in Kulp and romance that eventually led to marriage. After a group of alumni and faculty sang a song written in 1907 about Kulp Hall, with two updated verses, Director of Facilities Clay Shetler hammered away at a fireplace inside the first floor lounge and handed out bricks to past residents and others who wanted to take home a piece of the building.

The projected costs of original construction of Kulp Hall – named for Lewis Kulp, whose family donated funds toward the building – during the summer of 1906 were $11,000. The cost of the 1930 enlargement was $42,000, about 14 percent more than the total cost of faculty and staff salaries that year, according to Springer.

Kulp Hall now houses two floors of full-time female students and one small group house, for a total of 72 beds. When renovations are complete this summer, the refurbished facility will accommodate 76 beds, two more small group housing spaces, significant bathroom renovations, stairwell reconfigurations, new lounge and kitchen space on second and third floors. Renovations will begin May 27 and continue through the summer. Square footage of Yoder Hall restrooms will be doubled this summer.

Eventually, renovations will be made on all residential buildings. Kratz Hall will be renovated in fall 2003, Miller Hall in spring 2004, Yoder Hall and the new connector in summer 2004 and Coffman Hall in fall 2004.

The renovations across campus will add bed space, address American Disabilities Act issues, upgrade campus wiring and add sprinkler systems, offer new heating and cooling options and attend to aesthetic needs.

Renovations will be made with a $6.9 million bond issue received last year, which has to be used by May 2005 and is only for residence hall renovations. The college also received a $2 million grant from the Lilly Foundation Inc. to be used to build the connector between Kratz, Miller and Yoder Halls, providing common program and living areas while maintaining bed space.

The architectural plans and construction are being done by MPA Architects in South Bend, Ind., and Casteel Construction, which completed the new Music Center in 2002.

Goshen College is a national liberal arts college known for leadership in international education, service-learning and peace and justice issues in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition. Recognized for its unique Study-Service Term program and exceptional educational value, GC serves about 1,000 students in both traditional and nontraditional programs. The college earned citations of excellence among U.S.News & World Report and Barron’s Best Buys in Higher Education. For more information, visit

Editors: For information, contact Jodi H. Beyeler at or (574) 535-7572.