YELLOW SPRINGS, Ohio – June 2, 2011 – Thirty Yellow Springs High School seniors joined Antioch’s maintenance volunteers in May for two days of sorting, organizing, and removing files, books and items left behind in McGregor Hall, the College’s main classroom building.
The project was part of an ongoing volunteer program at Antioch College that brought alumni and other community members together on the campus as the College prepares for the arrival of its first independent class in the fall of 2011.
Garrett Miller '08 and Jim Spangler '74 return a repaired oak countertop to the second floor of McGregor Hall.
Since the fall of 2009, volunteers of all ages, skill levels and backgrounds have participated in monthly work projects. Their work was wide-ranging and included such tasks as painting walls in the Art Building in anticipation of 2011 Founders Day Celebration to restoring Pennell House.
In January, due to alumni interest, the College began to focus monthly work projects on building maintenance. Five volunteers – Jim Spangler ’74, Megan Trolander, Tom LaMers ’68, Jon Baker ’72, and Evelyn LaMers ’69 – collaborated with Julian Sharp, manager of volunteer work, in the effort they dubbed VAMP, Volunteers for Antioch Maintenance Projects.
Working with a team of volunteers during two cold weeks in January 2011, they converted the old Maples fire station garage into a volunteer workshop. The team restored heat, electricity and water to the space, which they converted into a well-equipped wood and metal shop utilizing excellent "found" tools and equipment rescued from a variety of closed college buildings. Additionally, they added donated tools and repaired damaged power tools.
The maintenance volunteers put the new workshop to good use while working to repair and refinish thirty-two massive oak countertops in McGregor Hall, a building with about 34,000 square feet of interior space spread over three floors. The task of repairing and refinishing the oak countertops began with a week's work in February, continued with additional work weeks in March and April, and concluded in May.
“This massive multi-month project was done out of love for the college and the hope that students will soon return to its historic campus,” Sharp said. "I am blown away by the amount of high-quality work the maintenance volunteers were able to accomplish in such a short amount of time."
The maintenance volunteers completed a number of other interior projects in McGregor. They repaired damaged office light fixtures on the second floor; stripped forty years accumulation of adhesive grime from doors, wood cabinets and walls on the second floor; stripped and refinished door kick plates and push plates throughout the first and second floors; and refit and repaired interior doors throughout the first and second floors. The group also reconditioned hardware and stops, removed damaged floor tile, refinished rusted bathroom dividers, and polished and sealed the exterior bronze building sign.
“The College owes enormous thanks to the maintenance volunteers who have donated such a large block of time to make meaningful upgrades to McGregor Hall,” Sharp said. “They saved the college tens of thousands of dollars and have created a much nicer atmosphere in a space that will be central to the academic life of the College.”
While VAMP has concluded, expanded work projects, which include maintenance work and other forms of volunteer work, will continue on a monthly basis this summer and fall. Volunteer maintenance work in McGregor continues during the Reunion Work Week, June 13-19. Other volunteer tracks will be available for those interested in offering administrative help, gardening, furniture repair, and more.
A very special thank you must be extended to the volunteers who contributed their time and resources to restoring the Antioch College campus. Jim Spangler and Megan Trolander each contributed seven weeks of full-time work while Tom and Evelyn LaMers contributed six weeks of full-time work. Jon Baker also deserves thanks for helping to set up the workshop in January and involvement at part of the February project.
Evelyn LaMers remarked that when students arrive she will be “very happy to see the Antioch College campus again in use and adored having the opportunity to help make it happen.”
Other regular volunteers were Lincoln Alpern ’11, Ashley Appleman, Paul Duellman ‘12, Eva Erickson ’15, Joe Foley ‘64, Dave Hergesheimer ‘71, Aaron McElwain, Garrett Miller ’08, Kyle Prueter, Wayne Russell, John Stillwell, Helen Welford ‘69, Mai Yanada, and Jonathan Zimmerman ‘70. In the weeks leading up to Reunion, Roger Husbands ‘63 and John Kubale ‘08 are continuing volunteer maintenance work in McGregor. College facilities staff, particularly Ron Hampton and Joshua Miller, assisted on each project.
“The College needs all the love and support you can give, the more people who participate the more work we will accomplish,” Sharp said.
For more information on Reunion Work Week or to inquire about other volunteer opportunities, contact Julian Sharp at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gariot P. Louima
Director of Communications