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The original renovation plan (inset) for Fletcher Hall was panned by alumni. The new plan above maintains the building's character while incorporating 20,000 square feet of additional space and addressing years of water intrusion.

UL Lafayette announced Monday that it has approved a redesign of renovations to the university’s architecture and visual arts building. The announcement follows a vocal outcry from alumni who panned the original renovation design as incongruent with the existing building and, well, just plain ugly.

The renovation of Fletcher Hall was precipitated mainly by years of water intrusion as well as the need to add more square footage. But when the design by Ziler Architects of Lafayette was released in December, alumni, most notably architects, cried foul. They even took to social media to register their displeasure and push for a re-do. The renovation plan released last month included incorporating red brick into the project to make the building jibe with the broader architecture on campus, but ended up making Fletcher Hall look more like a juvenile detention center than a place for creativity and learning. The new plan provides an additional 20,000 square feet of space on the second floor of the ’70s-era edifice.

“Refinements to the final design occurred through cooperative efforts,” says Gordon Brooks, dean of the College of the Arts, in Monday’s press release. “The project expanded beyond its primary role to remediate water damage and improve safety. Design also was a significant focus.”

Construction on the project is expected to get under way in April.

More from the press release:

At a Dec. 20 meeting, the state’s Office of Facility Planning and Control concurred with the project architect that a sprinkler and fire-alarm system would be a necessary addition to the project, according to Bill Crist, director of the university’s Facilities Management. At that meeting, he notified the state office that the architect and the university were reviewing designs to develop a final rendering.

The university allocated $500,000 in additional funding for the sprinkler and fire-alarm system, according to Crist.

“Refinements to the final design occurred through cooperative efforts,” said Gordon Brooks, dean of the College of the Arts. “The project expanded beyond its primary role to remediate water damage and improve safety. Design also was a significant focus.”

On Dec. 28, a six-person group met on campus to deliberate conceptual design options for Fletcher Hall: Branden Leger and Brant Patout, students majoring in architecture; Kerrie Butts and John Maak, architecture graduates from UL Lafayette; and Geoff Gjertson and Hector LaSala, members of the school’s faculty.

UL Lafayette alumnus Charles Beazley, a local architect, also was instrumental in critiquing the project.

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