Eldred Hall opened in 1898.
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Curtain rises on the new Eldred Hall as the 125-year-old building becomes a student center on Case Quad. Engineering students will study in style.
By Hannah Jackson ’24
Eldred Hall has a rich history on Case Quad. From being a YMCA to a student center to a performing arts building, the Hall has a reputation for being a chameleon that changes with the needs of the campus community. This February, Eldred changed once again, adopting a new identity as a student center in the heart of science and engineering.
The venerable building is now a place for students to meet, study, snack and store their belongings—as well as a place to perform. The 150-seat theater is again hosting live shows.
While the renovations are not yet complete, the new Eldred Hall celebrated a “first look” open house on Saturday, Feb. 18. Students were able to view the handsome rooms that will soon be adorned with murals that reflect the many cultures of the Case campus.
Arlet Wright, Director of The Office of Thwing Center Engagement and Operations, said that Eldred will become a place where students can feel at home on campus, wherever that may be.
“It’s not about what the space is going to look like, it’s about what it’s going to feel like,” she said.
Eldred’s history goes as far back as 1898, when it was a spiritual center for students attending Adelbert College. After being bought by the university, it was turned into a student center where student organizations could gather.
The theater was added in 1938. For years Eldred was the home for the CWRU Department of Theater as well as many campus performing groups, including Footlighters and IMPROVment.
That run ended in 2021, when the theater department moved to the new Maltz Performing Arts Center and the Eldred stage went dark. Mindful that Eldred was underutilized, student leaders proposed that the building be repurposed as a student center to address the lack of social and study spaces on Case Quad. Eldred’s position near the center of the Quad, next door to the Rockefeller Building, means thousands of students pass by daily.
The pandemic put a halt to campus activities and the evolution of Eldred. But once campus fully reopened in fall 2022, plans were formalized and President Eric Kaler approved the new venture.
Renovations began with the installing of new heating and cooling systems during fall semester. Student groups across campus contributed funds to pay for new theater and staging equipment, lockers, televisions and couches.
Meanwhile, designs spearheaded by the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the management team at Thwing Center call for celebrating the wide variety of cultures on campus. In addition to the murals, vending machines will feature ethnic foods.
The new Eldred Hall is open from 8 am to 10 pm Monday through Friday.
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Eldred’s main theater recently reopened and is available to student troupes and players.
Eldred Hall was renovated from top to bottom to be ready for its new role as a student center.