On Friday, Barton Hall, the newest freshman dormitory, was officially dedicated at a public campus ceremony. A barbecue luncheon for students and faculty was held to celebrate the occasion.
Completed by campus construction crews during the recent summer break, Barton Hall serves as a solution to the problems created by the recent increases in incoming class sizes, and is the first step in a long-term plan for campus residence renovations. During the dedication, President Shirley Ann Jackson commented, that “this worthy hall will give a meaningful start to freshman careers.”
The residential facility is named for former Rensselaer acting president Neal Barton ’58, who served from April 1998 until July 1999, when Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson took office.
Barton received his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in metallurgical engineering from RPI. He has served as chief executive officer and president of the machinery manufacturer Dorr-Oliver Inc. and as national Rensselaer fund and patron chairs.
During his tenure as Rensselaer’s president, Barton accomplished the launching of the information technology program, the freshman laptop initiative, and the successful search for and inauguration of Jackson as his successor.
For his support of RPI, Barton has received many awards, including the Alumni Association’s Fellows Degree, which honors graduates of the university whose life work has set examples for others to follow, the Albert Fox Demers Medal, and the Alumni’s Key Award.
Appreciative of the dormitory’s dedication in his name, the former president said at the ceremony, “We Bartons are extremely grateful for the honor of bestowing the Barton name on this esteemed residence hall.”
Barton received a bundle of Barton Hall golf shirts, a lifetime access card to the hall, and a framed photo of the building as gifts for his dedicated support of the university. In addition, a special display of photos celebrating his accomplishments was established on the fourth floor of Barton Hall.
A brick building which houses approximately 200 freshman students on four floors, Barton Hall has two lobbies, a courtyard, a private common lounge, and an integrated TV/game room/laundry area.
The 13 private meeting rooms and the fourth floor common lounge allow residents to collaborate quietly on group projects. The wings running along Sage Avenue offer residents double occupancy suite-style rooms, while the wings on Barton Hall’s south side have double occupancy rooms with access to community bathrooms. Like the other rooms on campus, each individual room in the dormitory has standard cable TV and Ethernet hookups.
Bruce Kunkel, the major projects construction manager for Campus Planning and Facilities Design noted in an interview last fall that the dormitory is “designed to be more residential in character, as opposed to the instructional style of the current freshman dorms.”
Kunkel said that Barton Hall will set the standard for residence projects in the future, including renovations to the existing halls or the construction of new buildings.
Barton Hall has helped to focus national attention on the Institute. Time/Princeton Review’s mentioned the hall, saying it “is designed to mimic a modern business travelers’ hotel, complete with fully wired conference rooms on each floor and work centers with fax machines, copiers and phones.”