WATERLOO, Iowa --- Allen College supporters gathered on campus Thursday to celebrate the opening of Winter Hall, the nursing school's newest academic building.
Mark Baldwin, chair of the Allen Hospital board, said the new building will allow the school to increase its enrollment and give students and faculty the space they deserve. School administrators believe the new building will allow enrollment to grow from this year's projected 550 students to 700 or more in the coming years "The growth so far has been phenomenal, but we have been self-limiting because of facilities," Baldwin said. "I feel this is a real hidden jewel for the Cedar Valley."
Winter Hall, named for the late Carlton and Thelma Winter of Waterloo, who operated local Ben Franklin stores here for many years, is a $4.8 million, 19,500-square-foot-building with two 75-seat lecture halls, two 35-seat classrooms and new offices. All money for the building was donated by Allen College supporters. The Winters left $2 million to the college, which when coupled with the gifts of more than 600 other donors made the construction of Winter Hall possible.
"It's beautiful," said Tom Tibbits, the Allen Hospital interim CEO. "When I came here in November 2011 I wasn't able to look inside the building, but I thought Barrett Hall was amazing. (Winter Hall) has that wow factor, though."
But students said they will, and already do, appreciate the common lounge areas that allow them to comfortably study or relax in between classes.
"Our whole class fits in here," said Jennifer Boeckenstedt, a new student seeking her associate of science in radiography degree. "(Barrett Hall) has more tables and chairs. It's just not as comfortable."
And they are also excited about not having to leave the warmth of the buildings during the cold winter months.
Jerry Durham, the Allen College chancellor, said Winter Hall will also allow the college to give back to the community that has given it so much. The lecture halls can be converted into community rooms during non-school hours, he said.