09.20.21Kirkland Hall renovation to enhance accessibility, upgrade infrastructure

Kirkland Hall renovation to enhance accessibility, upgrade infrastructure

Kirkland Hall, which is central to Vanderbilt’s history and widely recognized as the university’s signature building, will undergo a significant renovation that is reflective of the institution’s purpose and commitment to excellence.

“With the university’s sesquicentennial celebration on the horizon, this is the ideal time to make critical updates to ensure that Kirkland Hall is accessible and inviting and that it represents our great university fully,” Chancellor Daniel Diermeier said. “We want to preserve and accentuate the historic grandeur of one of our most treasured campus buildings while transforming its interior spaces to support the functional and aspirational goals of our university community.”

Kirkland Hall, which opened in 1875, initially housed all of Vanderbilt’s classrooms and laboratories. It was rebuilt in 1906 after a devastating fire, and the iconic building with a 170-foot clock tower has remained a hub of campus and administrative life. Originally called “Main Building,” it was renamed in honor of Vanderbilt’s second chancellor, James Hampton Kirkland, and his wife, Mary Henderson Kirkland, in 1937. Kirkland’s last major renovation took place in 1988, when the current HVAC and electrical systems were installed.

The Vanderbilt Board of Trust Executive Committee reviewed and approved the renovation plans at its June meeting.

Vice Chancellor for Administration Eric Kopstain emphasized that the renovation will be aligned with FutureVU’s campus planning framework and its core themes, which include accessibility and inclusion, connectivity and community enhancement, and sustainability.

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