The Once and Future Terrace

By Doug Scanlon | Fall 2015

MacLean Terrace is poised to become one of the most aesthetically striking places on campus.

Alumni felt something special during the wine tasting at the 2015 Springfield College Reunion at Alumni Hall’s MacLean Terrace, and it wasn’t just the Merlot. The skies were clear and the temperature was pleasant, but there was something transcendent about the event’s location and atmosphere.

There is a deep history associated with MacLean Terrace and Alumni Hall. It started with the unrelenting will of the Springfield College alumni of the 1920s and continued with the 2011 tornado that swept through the city.

Alumni Hall, the oldest residential facility on the campus, was designed to house 200 male students. Initial construction was delayed in 1914 as this young college struggled to raise the necessary funds. In the coming years, more than 1,000 alumni took it upon themselves to rally around the project, eventually raising $250,000, more than 50 percent of the construction cost. As measured in today’s dollars, that would equal $3.5 million of a $6.1 million project, a successful fundraising campaign, especially considering that the nation was sinking into the economic chaos of the Great Depression.

Construction continued in 1926, and the building was dedicated in 1930 with the appropriate moniker, Alumni Hall. To this day, it remains one of the most popular residence halls among male students. Alumni from across the years have fond memories of everything from studying in their room to playing hockey in the hallways.

Renovated and Refurbished

After nearly 90 years of continuous use, including during World War II when it was used as a U.S. Navy convalescent hospital for servicemen, Alumni Hall had come to need renovations. Springfield College recently completed a significant amount of this work. All 214 residence rooms, the bathrooms, halls, and other common spaces, have been refurbished with new paint, carpeting, doors, and other repairs. The College replaced the roof, made masonry repairs to the exterior, and installed wiring to keep up with technology needs of today’s educational environment. These renovations were completed during the 2014-15 fiscal year, fully funded by the College at a cost of $2 million.

Prior to tackling the upgrades to Carlisle Foyer and MacLean Terrace, President Mary-Beth Cooper met with a group of current Alumni Hall residents to learn their needs and ensure the renovation would be student-centered. Since then, Springfield College has spent an additional $225,000 to restore and upgrade historic Carlisle Foyer. This work included restoring and replacing windows, painting the walls and ceiling, replacing lighting fixtures and making other necessary electrical upgrades, and refurbishing the hardwood floor and the woodwork that surrounds the space.

Support Kick Off from the Flynns

President Emeritus Richard B. Flynn understood that transforming campus through capital improvements deepens both the student and alumni experience at Springfield College. That is why he and his wife Jani have contributed $100,000 to kick off the MacLean Terrace renovation project. The entire project costs $1 million and will continue Flynn’s legacy of campus improvements and student-focused initiatives. The College hopes to begin the renovation next summer.

“When I was made aware of the plans to renovate Alumni Hall, including Carlisle Foyer and MacLean Terrace, I became very interested in the project. I’ve always believed that campus improvements enhance the student experience” says Flynn. “By providing a leadership gift, Jani and I felt we could reinforce the importance of this renovation not only to current and future students, but the thousands of alumni who resided there during their undergraduate days. I can’t tell you how many alumni have told me wonderful stories about their time in Alumni Hall and the camaraderie among the residents. I anticipate that many of those individuals will be very supportive.”

Members of the Class of 1966 are also joining the list of generous supporters of this project. As part of their 50th Reunion celebration, they are raising funds in support of the MacLean Terrace renovation.

“The class of 1966 is excited that our class gift, raised as part of our 50th Reunion celebration, is going to support the reconstruction and expansion of MacLean Terrace. This gift will add to the legacy of our class and serve the College, its students, and alumni for many years to come,” said Brad Perham ’66, member of the class of 1966 50th reunion giving committee.


Despite its destruction, one can find a silver lining among the 2011 tornado’s casualties. Due to the downed trees at the crest of the hill surrounding the back of Alumni Hall, MacLean Terrace now has the campus’s unequivocal best view of Lake Massasoit. Views from the top of Rally Hill or inside the cafe in the Richard B. Flynn Campus Union are unobstructed and regarded as magnificent, but only from MacLean Terrace can one see all the way to the Roosevelt Avenue bridge, and the majestic scenery the view affords.

The timing of the tornado’s unforeseen transformation of MacLean Terrace seems significant. MacLean Terrace, once the location of Stepping Up Day, has aged. The steps are crumbling, the windows are dated, and the landscaping does not reflect its former majesty. With the Alumni Hall and Carlisle Foyer restorations—and the stunning lake views—MacLean Terrace is poised to become one of the most aesthetically striking places on campus. A full renovation will create a high-quality program, recreation, and leisure space for students. Activities including New Student Orientation, Stepping Up Day, baccalaureate, carnivals, outdoor plays, and outdoor learning, could take place at this beautiful space that holds such meaning for so many in the Springfield College community. Furthermore, alumni events—including the Golden Triangle Breakfast, wine tastings, and even alumni weddings—will be well served by a fully-restored MacLean Terrace.

This extensive restoration will cost approximately $1 million and includes a pergola, among other architectural features.

We have the opportunity to continue the momentum created from the Alumni Hall repairs, and not just reconstruct the terrace, but redefine its purpose. There is no better time than now to realize the auspicious potential of MacLean Terrace.