Piper Hall Restoration Project: A space for women's leadership to flourish
With the restoration of historic Piper Hall complete, the Ann Ida Gannon, BVM, Center for Women and Leadership is magnifying its effectiveness in a new, permanent home—a gathering place in which it carries on the historical work of the classic Mundelein College while defining and preparing for the future of women's education and women's issues.
With funding from a gift to the Gannon Center directed towards the evaluation of Piper Hall, an architectural assessment identified rehabilitation options for the building. Architects called the mansion "an exceptional restoration opportunity," praising its warm features—including elegant woodwork, sweeping staircase and Tiffany-style stained-glass windows—as "a comfortable and inviting backdrop for the activities to take place here."
The restoration included:
First floor: Piper Hall's beautiful ground-floor rooms, with their built-in bookcases and wood detailing, were restored to their original beauty and will be used as a university gathering space for small lectures, parties, special meetings and other events. Piper Hall's proximity to the beautiful McCormick Lounge next door in lakefront Coffey Hall extends the space available for larger gatherings.
Second floor: The new home of the Gannon Center includes offices and work areas—updated for technology appropriate to contemporary usage—for center administrators and staff, graduate assistants, researchers and visiting scholars. Gathering and seminar rooms also were added. This floor's original ceiling height was restored and its fireplaces uncovered.
Third floor: The Women and Leadership Archives' main storage area is complemented by an archival assistant's workroom.