Salem State closes Meier Hall after discovery of structural problem | News

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SALEM — Meier Hall, a major academic building on Salem State University’s North Campus, has been shut down due to a structural problem that was discovered this week.

In a message to the community issued late Friday, university President John Keenan said Meier Hall has been closed and will remain closed for “the remainder of the spring 2022 semester. All classes scheduled to occur in Meier Hall will be held remotely.”

The shutdown stems from an incident reported on Wednesday night, just hours after a $30 million grant award was announced with the governor and other state officials that would allow the university to embark on a major campus redesign. A member of the university’s facilities team “heard tiles fall from the wall next to the rear left staircase near the quad.” They investigated to find “a significant crack in the same wall.”

The building was then closed, and classes and activities held in it were canceled for Thursday, per an update issued just before 6 a.m. Thursday. By 2:10 p.m., another update outlined that all events through Friday would be held remotely or postponed.

One final update at 7:12 p.m. Friday sealed Meier Hall’s fate for the semester.

It wasn’t immediately clear Friday night how significant the issue with Meier Hall is or what it means for future renovations and expansion of the building.

“We spent yesterday and today consulting with an engineering firm and with the state building inspector, both of whom examined the affected area,” Keenan wrote. “So that this evaluation and any needed repairs can be conducted fully and thoroughly, Meier Hall will remain closed for the remainder of the spring 2022 semester.”

As part of the SSU BOLD campus reorganization project, which will cost $84 million in total, Keenan had said it would include “the construction of the long-awaited, state-of-the-art addition to Meier Hall, our largest academic building, to house the seven much-needed, high-intensity teaching labs.”

The Frederick A. Meier Arts and Sciences Hall was originally named the Arts and Sciences Building when it was built. It was one of several major buildings on campus delivered by Frederick Meier, who led the then-named “State Teachers College at Salem” as its seventh president from 1954 to 1970, according to Salem State’s archive page. The building is home to SSU’s College of Arts and Sciences and houses several labs, as well as the Collins Observatory.

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