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Patroness Hall: Past, Present, and Future

By Rian Bevan

Every day, students walk past Patroness Hall. To most, it is just an abandoned building with little intrigue; older students may even remember a time when it was used as a quarantine building.

Although unassuming, Patroness has a deep history here at Graceland and has gone through many changes throughout the years.

In the present day, Patroness Hall still stands, though in a state of disrepair due to weathering under management and problems with facilities.

Brenda Tony, the head of facilities, describes the state of the building: “Last winter, steam traps in the building were plugged, leading to excess moisture in the building. This made ceiling tiles crack and fall, and walls also became cracked due to the unstable foundation.”

When asked about plans for the building, Tony also mentioned that there is no real timeline for tearing down the building.

Currently, facilities is waiting for funding to remove asbestos, a common cancer-causing insulation found in older buildings, from the Patroness. Removal of the asbestos will allow them to demolish it and hopefully rebuild new housing.

Tony states that new housing will replace Patroness, though it is unknown what kind of housing it will be. It is also uncertain when funding for the removal of building will be received.

The Patroness Hall as we know it now is actually the second Patroness to be built here at Graceland after the first, located next to Briggs Hall, burned down. Patroness II, or just Patroness as we know it today, was built in October 1952 and used as women's residents housing Solah, Audentia (an original women's hall), and later Paloma and Traver (later merged to create Amici), the last two houses to ever reside in the building.

During the summer of 1979, Patroness Hall was converted into a counseling and study skills center, Career Counseling Services, TRIO, a counseling center, guest housing, and registrar's office. Eight years later, in 1986, the Higdon Admin building was undergoing construction, so the development offices, as well as accounting and financial aid, were moved into Patroness.

By 2018, these offices were dispersed between the admin building and the library basement, respectively, leaving the building empty. Patroness did not lie empty for long, as in 2020, and 2021, the building was used as quarantine and isolation housing, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. From 2022, until the current year, the building is under disrepair and is being used for storage.

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