Jolliffe’s renovation: Applied Health Sciences to get its own building


Josephine Moore

Jolliffe Hall located next the NLC and across the street from Gessner used to be used for housing and soon will be remodeled for the Department of Applied Health Sciences.

Jolliffe Hall has been sitting vacant for 13 years but will soon be given a new purpose. The building that once served as a residence hall will undergo renovations to be a designated space for the Department of Applied Health Sciences, housing the exercise science and public health majors.

Baker received a $2 million donation from the Howard Family to renovate the building to make it a more functional asset to the campus. The building will be named in honor of Dr. Joanne M. Howard, a 1962 Baker graduate who also has an endowed scholarship in her name through the university. Her husband, Cleve Howard and son, Nathan Howard, made the donation on her behalf as a lifelong educator who passed away in 2018.

When Applied Health Sciences Department Chair Dr. Erin Holt found out about the opportunity to move the department from Mabee Hall into its own building, she jumped at the chance.

“It was kind of a surprise,” Holt said. “I was on my way to campus one morning and received a phone call from the Dean that said, ‘hey, would you be interested in having a new building’ and I said, without even asking any other questions, ‘yes.'”

Although the blueprints and specific plans for the building are still in the works, Holt already has hopes for what the department will look like and be able to do in the new Joanne M. Howard Hall for Applied Health Sciences. Aside from faculty offices and classroom spaces, the goal is to provide more hands-on learning opportunities for these students by having a more functional space.

“With expanded space and expanded equipment there’s a lot more we can do, and hopefully expand some of the research projects that we’ve done in the past or start new ones,” Holt said. “It’s just exciting.”

Holt also has plans to find ways to give back to the Baker community through providing group exercise classes or personal training for faculty and staff. This will provide chances for the students in the department to gain real-world experience prior to doing internships, benefiting both them and the rest of campus.

Another hope for the new building is that with a designated space, each major can grow and come into their own within the department. Holt expressed that the public health major often gets overlooked as it has a smaller population compared to the exercise science major, and sophomore Savannah Bray agreed.

“I think it’ll also give public health their own name because everyone just puts [exercise science and public health] together but they’re not the same, so I think this will help separate them, too,” Bray said.

In addition to enhanced learning opportunities and more room to grow as a department, junior Kennedy Comstock hopes that it will bring the applied health science students closer.

“I think that it’s going to be super beneficial for students to have a condensed space where they feel like they can go to run into other classmates and peers and have a space to call their own,” Comstock said. “I think it’ll really bring the department together.”

From department cohesion to enhanced lab spaces and the possibility of a group exercise room, Dr. Holt said that the department is eager to begin planning and turning these hopes into reality.

“We recognize that we’re a big major on campus, and we’re just extremely grateful that the university and Dr. Murray would really consider us for the space,” Holt said. “We’re just really grateful that we were given this opportunity.”

The renovations are expected to be completed by the fall of 2023.