Mystery inside Melrose: The fourth-floor attic
Septembre Russell – Copy editor. It stands majestically amid a welcoming landscape of symmetry. Its four supporting columns seem to reach elegantly toward the school’s seal, featured dead center above them, a circular representative of a myriad ideas and values; it serves as a beacon, a reminder to all who behold it of its long-standing principles.
In 1929, the building was completed with the help of a $220,000 donation. The name Melrose comes from a monastery in Scotland.
Melrose Hall serves as home base for the entire campus. The building itself is equivalent to the “You are here” mark that is written on countless maps. One can give directions to anywhere on campus from the hall. The building’s landmark status is complemented by the fact that it is a cornerstone: It contains essential offices, such as the President’s Office, human resources, the Registrar’s Office and financial aid, to name a few.
Finding Melrose Hall is second nature, even for those who aren’t enrolled at the college. Students interact and learn inside the hall daily, but many are oblivious to the fact that there is a seldom-mentioned attic above their heads. In fact, Melrose Hall has a fourth floor.
Twelve years ago, stairs up to the attic of the hall were built, Dan Preston, dean of enrollment services, said.
“I have seen it accessible for quite some time only by a ladder attached to the wall in the third-floor hallway and by climbing through an attic opening,” he said.
John Hall, director of capital planning and management, said that the attic’s floor is made from lightweight concrete.
“It is not advisable to store heavy items [up there] without structural support,” he said.
Therefore, after the paper records were removed from the attic specifically because they were too heavy to be kept there, the space began to store mechanical equipment for Ice Auditorium and the elevator, Hall said. He added that the attic has poor ventilation and is not suitable for occupancy.
Students need not wonder what lies on the other side of the ceiling tiles in Melrose Hall; it is merely an unfinished space, Hall said.
What is intriguing about that particular aspect of the building’s architecture is that its existence is not common knowledge. And, specifically because there is no story tied to the attic, it leaves an opportunity for one to be written.