Tour > Virtual Tour > Pierce Hall
Name(s): John D. Pierce Hall
R. S. Gerganoff of Ypsilanti
of Architecture: Late Modern / Late
International with PWA Modern detailing
Use: Built to house the Administration
Building as well as Classrooms and the departments
of English, Speech, Mathematics, and Education.
of renovation: 1967 classrooms subdivided
for offices. 1986-89 remodeled interior completely
and added elevator shafts to exterior.
Use: Student Services, Registration
and Student Accounting
The current Pierce Hall replaced Boone Hall
as the central administrative headquarters
for the university. Pierce Hall was completed
in 1948 as part of President John
M. Munson’s building campaign.
scrupulously honest and highly effective president
built 13 buildings on campus during his tenure
from 1933-48. Pierce was among the last buildings
to be completed before Munson left the presidency
John M. Munson
Pierce Hall was dedicated as part of the centennial
celebrations of the Normal College in 1949.
Even the name fit with this retrospective theme.
Pierce Hall commemorates John D. Pierce who
counted among his accomplishments being the
first State Superintendent of Public Instruction
(1836-41). Known as the Father of the Michigan
School System, he insisted that a system of
free public schools be included in the State
constitution when it was framed in 1850. The
design of Pierce Hall was a modern interpretation
of the Old Main Building. Though very different
in design, the building retained certain nostalgic
features including the large bell tower that
dominates its façade. The residents of
Ypsilanti donated money to construct the 120-foot
tower, in the tradition of Old Pierce Hall.
In June 1950 the school installed the Alumni
Memorial Chimes, donated by the alumni and dedicated
to those who died in World War II.
the Department of Education moved to new quarters
and in 1967 the rest of the departments and
classrooms transferred to Pray-Harrold. In
1967 building was converted from a classroom
building to an office building by subdividing
classrooms into usable office space. It continued
to house the administrative functions of the
university until EMU’s executive offices
moved to Welch following its reconstruction
in 1988. Between 1986-89 Pierce Hall also
received a face-lift as part of the university’s
modernization push. A $4 million renovation
budget converted the building from subdivided
classrooms to the student service center.
The remodeling also added elevators, removed
asbestos, and remodeled all four floors. Despite
the interior remodeling, however, original
tile work remains in the stairwells including
tiles with representations of fish and animals.
Today the building houses all Student Services
under one roof.
of Pierce Hall (Click on the image for
a bigger view)