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ESF History Cast in Stone

Marshall Hall addition features granite from the same quarry that sourced the building’s foundation

The renovation of Marshall Hall will be completed in 2023 and include granite panels from the supplier used 90 years ago when Marshall was first built.

As ESF's Marshall Hall is refurbished to become a state-of-the-art learning center with spaces tailored to the needs of 21st-century students, the building's history has an opportunity to shine.

The new west entry, which will include an elevator and stairwell built into a small addition, will feature granite panels as a backdrop for 10-inch-high brushed, stainless steel letters that spell out the building's name. When the time came to choose the granite for the highly visible location, the College went back to the same source that supplied the granite used in construction 90 years ago.

Marshall Hall was built in the 1930s with traditional construction methods and materials that were commonly used at the time. Rex Giardine, assistant director for facilities planning, design and construction, said most of the exterior is red brick and Indiana limestone; the foundation is granite. With the renovation and addition underway, the College looked for granite that would match the original stone and found it at Deer Isle Granite, in Deer Isle, Maine, the same company that supplied the granite for the foundation. The company has supplied granite for famous monuments and buildings around the nation, including the Statue of Liberty and President John F. Kennedy's memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.

"Deer Isle was quarrying and producing granite for some of the most prestigious municipal and public buildings in the early parts of the 20th century," Giardine said. "Their quarry is still open and producing great building stone. All these years later, that's where we found the granite that best matched the original stone used to construct Marshall Hall."

The granite is part of the College's effort to maintain many of Marshall's historic features. Every floor in the 93,000-square-foot building is undergoing renovation. Upon completion in 2023, the building will offer students state-of-the-art classrooms and studio space, as well as formal and informal places to gather, collaborate, and show off their work. Where possible, maple and terrazzo floors, and Indiana limestone, in addition to the Maine granite, are being refurbished or replaced with material from the same sources that supplied them when the building was originally constructed.

"It's a beautifully detailed building," Giardine said. "We are preserving all of that and honoring the history as much as possible."