By Cody Reeves
Renovations of Dutton Hall on the Washington Street Campus began Oct. 14. The renovations mark the last phase of a project that began in 2007 when Amarillo residents approved a $68 million bond election for Amarillo College to improve its facilities.
Through the previous five years of construction, Dutton Hall has been used as a temporary home for different departments while their own buildings were remodeled.
“Parcells Hall, for example, was emptied out a while back, and everyone in it was moved into Dutton Hall,” said Joe Wyatt, AC communications coordinator. “When renovations were finished at Parcells,
everyone was moved back so that Dutton could then be used for all the people in Byrd Business Building, so it could be renovated.
“Then, just last year, everyone in the music building spent a number of months in Dutton Hall while the music building was renovated.”
Now that all departments are back in new, upgraded buildings, administrators said it finally is Dutton’s turn to have its own remodel.
Physical Plant Director Bruce Cotgreave said that over the course of a year, Dutton Hall will be gutted of its outdated fixtures and remodeled with all new components.
Even the interior walls are coming down, Cotgreave said, and some of the updates will be new wiring, plumbing, heating and windows as well as improvements to the technological capabilities of the classrooms, making them “smart classrooms.”
Dutton Hall will have six classrooms, with three large classrooms on each floor of the building. Each room will have the capacity to accommodate 50 students.
The overall visual appeal will be improved inside and out. Plans to update the landscaping and improve the parking area on the north side of the building also will be implemented.
A new entry on the east side and a new roof will be added as well. Almost no part of the building will be left without an upgrade.
According to Cotgreave, the only thing remaining of the old Dutton Hall will be the structure or shell of the building
Of the total $68 million budget, Dutton Hall was allotted a little more than $2.4 million, according to the budget breakdown found on AC’s website.
Wyatt confirmed the figure and added that AC was able to get a discount on the renovations.
“Because of the recession, construction companies were willing to offer us more competitive prices,” he said.
The extra savings meant the budget could allow for more upgrades than originally planned.
Since the renovations began in 2008, some AC students never have seen their campus without some kind of construction project underway.
While several students have had their classes relocated to Dutton Hall, those who never have been inside the building will have to wait a little longer.
Elena Martinez, a first-year music therapy student, said she has “never had a class there, but I’m curious to see what it will look like.”
Students can expect to make use of Dutton Hall’s new features at the beginning of fall 2014.
Wyatt said when work is complete, Dutton Hall most likely will be used by members of the education department, who currently are using Durrett Hall.