Gilbert Hall, the home of Shippensburg University’s Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA), is facing physical changes, but its message will remain the same.
The historic building is undergoing repairs and renovations during the 2019–2020 academic year.
According to Ezra Lehman Memorial Library Archives, the building was constructed in 1912 and has housed an elementary training school and business education department. Now, it is used for exercise science classrooms and is the home of MSA. It offers office spaces, recreational areas and study locations for students as well.
Student Government Association Sens. Isaiah Smith and Danielle Williams, who represent Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA), stood among facilities workers on Wednesday in an uncharacteristically empty “AM,” recalling the prior conditions of their beloved “home.”
“The AM” is a popular area for students to do schoolwork, hangout and socialize, as well as the venue for many MSA events. Smith called it “a place for everyone, a second home and a safe-haven.”
“The paint was chipped, and the furniture needed updated,” said Williams.
“There was no air circulation either,” Smith said.
The radiator was not functioning properly and on windy days doors would not stay shut, Smith added.
Smith and Williams applauded the renovation.
“It is well-needed,” Smith said.
Megan Silverstrim, SU media relations manager, said work in Gilbert will continue through December.
“Work continues in Gilbert Hall with wall repairs and painting on the ground and first floor. Floor repairs and replacements will also be addressed in designated areas,” she said.
There are additional plans for more painting, once this work is completed, according to Silverstrim.
Both Smith and Williams expressed their gratitude for Diane Jefferson (Ms. Di), director of MSA; SU President Laurie Carter; and all of the people who advocated for MSA.
“We’re excited to see what the future holds. We’ve been needing this for years,” Smith said.
There are a couple of aspects that will not change once renovations wrap-up — the mural overlooking The AM and MSA’s message of inclusivity.
The mural, a visual representation of MSA’s history at SU, remains protected under plastic and painters’ tape.
While its home is under construction, MSA is still holding programming, but Smith said they are improvising by using other spaces across campus to hold activities that would normally take place in The AM.