Jesse Hall has stood as the symbolic center of Mizzou’s campus since its predecessor burned to the ground in 1892, leaving nothing but the six iconic columns that remain today. The university has certainly experienced its share of change and growth over the years since, and right now is no exception.
Jesse is currently surrounded by two visible forms of change: the ongoing construction on and around the Francis Quadrangle to its north and the new Mizzou Alumni Association projects located across Conley to its south.
Construction is not new to Mizzou. MU in Brick and Mortar lists 98 of the campus’ structures as projects it has worked on, and a lot of them have seen more than one adjustment. Jesse has had a facelift seven times over the years, including a 1953 East Wing addition and the 1981 dome renovations. Currently, Jesse’s exterior remains untouched as it overlooks bulldozers and cranes digging into surrounding buildings.
The current quad construction will see one of the biggest changes to the columns in a while with the addition of pavers under the column bases. As workers also aim to improve the quad’s drainage, surrounding buildings are getting a touch-up of their own.
Swallow Hall has been gutted completely for foundation repairs, and workers plan to make the building more technology-friendly, according to a Feb. 9, 2015, KRCG report.
The College of Engineering’s central building, Lafferre Hall, is getting a much-needed renovation as well. The project is set to finish late 2016 and will include new study rooms and labs as well as a student-run coffee shop, according to an April 9, 2015, KOMU story.
On the other side of Jesse sits two different reminders of Mizzou’s growth. Traditions Plaza joined the Reynolds Alumni Center last year as (fairly) new additions that show Mizzou’s focus on maintaining a relationship with alumni.
The Donald W. Reynolds Alumni Center was finished in 1992 and houses the Mizzou Alumni Association as well as campus banquets and events. Right down the street is the new Traditions Plaza. The plaza is an amphitheater and can hold around 750 people, according to the MAA website. It was built to commemorate the 175th anniversary of Mizzou in 2014, and alumni can purchase and personalize bricks that make up parts of the plaza.
David Roloff, the association’s marketing and strategic communications director, said the plaza "is where we’ll honor our pride of place on campus." The association hopes the plaza can raise up to $3 million that will be used to preserve campus traditions.
It seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Mizzou is making sure it’s history and traditions remain in tact, and to do so requires some changes.