Seton Hill University's 'castle building' gets $4M state grant for renovation

Nov. 13—Sullivan Hall just marked 93 years on the Seton Hill University campus and is poised for an update.

A renovation project has been approved for $4 million in funding through Pennsylvania's Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.

Sullivan Hall is popularly known as "the castle building" — reflecting its Norman chateau-style architecture, featuring towers.

The four-story building houses a Barnes & Noble bookstore, the Griffin's Cove cafe, an auxiliary gym, offices and student lounges.

The renovation project, which is in the design phase, will provide

updated spaces for growing academic programs and a student center while maintaining the building's iconic architecture.

Sullivan Hall is "beloved by generations of Seton Hill alumni, who appreciate its architectural style and its location in the heart of our campus," university President Mary C. Finger said. "By renovating Sullivan — while still maintaining its unique look and features — we will be able to extend the life of this important campus landmark while meeting the needs of today's students."

The project will involve selective demolition and interior construction while addressing roofing, plumbing, electrical utilities, mechanical

systems and fire protection.

Energy conservation will be a key component. The updated building will feature energy-efficient lighting, heating and air conditioning equipment. The exterior walls and roof will be insulated to reduce energy consumption.

The hall opened as the student activities building on Oct. 25, 1929, with an alumnae ball. That occurred during the term of the school's fourth president, the Rev. Daniel Sullivan. The building was renamed in his honor in 1947.

Over the years, athletic events were held in the gymnasium. A bowling alley and a swimming pool provided extracurricular activities for students.

Many Greensburg residents will remember taking swimming lessons in the Sullivan pool. Commencement ceremonies were held in the building for a number of years.

As the municipality where Seton Hill is located, Greensburg is expected to accept the redevelopment program funding, on behalf of the Sullivan Hall project, at Monday's council meeting.

Seton Hill began housing male students on its campus in 1986. In July 2002, it officially changed its status from a women's college to a coeducational university.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff by email at or via Twitter .