Students and faculty will soon see a lot of changes at the Mission Hills Mansion.

Funds raised by the Alumni Association are going towards a renovation of the Mansion. The Alumni Association is preparing to move from its current location at the Hempen House to the first floor of the Mansion once the renovations are complete. The Mansion annex was recently used to house the bookstore.

“I’m really excited about it,” said Lee Elliff Pound, director of the Alumni Association. “We started [fundraising] in 2004 as part of the strategic planning process with the alumni board.”

Though the outside renovations are complete, the inside portion just began Oct. 21, according to Director of the Physical Plant Bob Harrington.

“It should be done by probably the end of April,” Harrington said. He is unsure what the square footage will be when the project is done.

As part of the changes, the old learning center portion, which housed the bookstore during the summer, will be torn down. Harrington said the North and South houses will also be demolished, but the building housing Project Stay will remain.


The renovated annex will be named the Ralph L. Gray Alumni Center, after one of the lead donors to the project.

“The total amount of private funds raised for the renovation is approximately $1.7 million,” said John Tiede, director of major gifts and planned giving. “The Alumni Association has raised about $150,000 through brick sales and other fundraising activities.

“Lee Elliff Pound and myself have worked together to raise the other funds from various individuals.”

Pound named Mary Helen Haritun, longtime piano teacher in this area, as another lead donor. She owned a house similar to the Puerto Rican style of the Mission Annex.

“We would not have been able to do this project without her first gift,” Pound said.

The rooms in the alumni center will be named after donors to the project. The association is also still selling bricks for fundraising.


Several minor and major changes are taking place inside the Mansion for its transition to the alumni center.

The Mansion will make use of the three fireplaces that have always been there.

“What’s cool about the fireplaces is that they’re all exactly the same, [the tiles are just different colors],” Pound said.

The bathrooms will also be restored. There are three bathrooms on the second floor, and a half bathroom on the first floor. The first floor also has male and female bathrooms that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“They’re exactly the same when you look at the tile,” Pound said. “They’re keeping all the old tile in the bathrooms.”

Some of the original aspects of the building will not be changed.

“With the pricing, we really wanted to keep as much original as we could,” Pound said. “They’re keeping the radiators for architectural reasons, but they won’t be used.”

A few of the other changes include:

• Installation of a flat-screen television in the fountain/Kenneth M. Gray room

• Restoration of the fountain in the above room

• Removal of a wall portion in the above room, opening the room up to seat 56

• Installation of stainless steel appliances in the kitchen

• Removal of all carpets, so that the entire building has hardwood floors