A major renovation project at Hope College is transforming a familiar campus workhorse.

Lubbers Hall, one of the college's most venerable academic buildings, is being renovated this summer with completion anticipated in time for the start of classes in the fall. Site preparations for the $3 million project are underway and work in earnest will begin on Monday, May 8, the day after the college's Commencement ceremony closes the spring semester.

Lubbers Hall houses the departments of English, history, philosophy, political science and religion, as well as the office of the dean for the arts and humanities.

The renovation includes reconfiguring and adding office space for members of the faculty, reflecting growth in the programs since the departments moved into the building in the middle 1970s. The work is adding 28 offices, raising the total to more than 60.

The project takes advantage of space made available when the department of communication relocated from Lubbers to the Martha Miller Center for Global Communication in the fall of 2005. In addition, the reconfiguration is reducing the number of classrooms in the building from 10 to six.

Other major components of the project including adding air conditioning and a new fire system that will include interior sprinklers, and replacing the windows.

The building, which totals about 25,000 square feet and has three main floors, has been vacated for the duration of the project. The programs and faculty and staff have all relocated to temporary quarters across campus until the work is completed.

The architects for the project are GMB Architects. Elzinga and Volkers is serving as construction manager.

Lubbers Hall, dedicated on Sept. 16, 1942, was constructed as the college's science building. In the fourth-floor attic, known as the "loft," the building also housed Hope's theatre program for many years.

Theatre relocated to the DeWitt Center when it opened in 1971, and the building ceased housing the sciences when the Peale Science Center opened in 1973. It was subsequently renovated to serve as a center for the humanities and social sciences, re-opening in January 1975. The department of economics and business administration was part of the original mix, but moved to different quarters in 1982.

In conjunction with the 1975 renovation, the building was named for Dr. Irwin Lubbers, who served as the college's seventh president from 1945 to 1963.

This summer's renovation has been funded through the college's recent "Legacies: A Vision of Hope" comprehensive campaign. The campaign concluded in January 2005 having raised more than $137.5 million. Its major components included four primary initiatives: building a new science center and renovating the Peale Science Center; increasing the endowment to provide on-going support for college operations and programs; building the Martha Miller Center for Global Communication and making a variety of campus improvements, including the Lubbers Hall renovation; and building the DeVos Fieldhouse.

Only five major campus buildings are older than Lubbers Hall: Van Vleck Hall, a residence hall built in 1858; the President's Home, completed in 1892; Graves Hall, an academic building built in 1894; Voorhees Hall, a residence hall built in 1907; and Dimnent Memorial Chapel, completed in 1929.

Lubbers Hall is located on the south side of 10th Street between College and Columbia avenues.