Tour > Virtual Tour > Welch Hall
Training School Building (1896-25).
S. Welch Hall (1925-present)
constructed: Built 1896. Dedicated
March 29, 1897.
Designed by Malcomson and Higginbotham of
of Architecture: Colonial Revival
with some Classical Revival detailing.
Original Use: Teacher training
of renovation: 1900: Wings were added
to either side. Northwest wing built in 1909
and removed in 1974 to provide space to expand
McKenny Union. 1988: Renovated by Louis G.
Redstone Associates, Inc.
Use: Administrative Offices
Register of Historic Places: 1984
Welch Hall was named for Adonijah
S. Welch first principal of the university.
The building was the first site of a teacher-training
school west of the Alleghenies. Normal had
had teacher training classes before Welch
was built but these had been housed in small
crowded rooms. Designers intended the new
building to include teaching classrooms for
nine grades (Kindergarten-eight), several
offices, and an assembly room seating 400
children according to the Normal News in 1895.
Viewers called the new training school a model
of its kind. Student teachers held classes
in Welch for 25 years. Over the years, increasing
class sizes called for a number of expansions
of the building. In 1900, east and west wings
were added to the building and in 1909 a northwest
wing was added.
classes moved from Welch to Roosevelt Hall.
For some years, Welch housed the home economics,
business education, geography, history, social
science, and military education departments.
In the 1960s, the university converted Welch
into office space. In 1974 the northwest wing
was removed in order to make way for the expansion
of McKenny Union.
of poor maintenance lead to the decline of
the building. In 1982 the university closed
Welch Hall sighting budgetary costs and the
state’s decision to cease to fund repairs
on a building it felt was no longer worth
repairing. During the early 1980s the university
considered a number of redevelopment options
for the prominently placed building. One option
was to remodel the building to be a private
apartment complex. An alternate plan was demolition.
fate changed radically in the mid-1980s. In
1985 a $2.5 million federal grant included
in an education bill passed by Congress saved
Welch. With the money, the university updated
electrical systems, added insulation and improved
heating systems. Welch was the first of several
buildings in the historic section of campus
to receive a facelift during the late 1980s
and early 1990s. The university, under the
guidance of President John W. Porter, changed
its policy from one of replacing old buildings
with new ones to a policy of adaptive reuse.
The landmark decision at Welch hall, made
possible by federal funding, has enabled Eastern
Michigan University to preserve its architectural
fabric. Today once dilapidated Welch Hall
houses EMU’s executive offices, including
the Office of the President, and acts as a
gateway and a centerpiece to campus.
of Welch Hall (Click on the image for
a bigger view)