a year after the U of C administration announced the closing
of International House for financial shortcomings and a deteriorating
infrastructure ("Chicago Journal," April/00), I-House
and its programs are back on their feet and quickly returning
to fully functional status.
to Henry Pernet, AM'67, PhD'79, a former International House
resident who was appointed director of the facility in November,
the building has undergone major renovations during the past
year, including new carpet, room remodeling, a new laundry
facility, and conversion of communal showers into private
stalls. The largest renovation was the installation of a $2
million fire alarm system to bring the building up to code.
need for the fire alarm system led the University to consider
permanently closing the facility, a possibility that sparked
a storm of protest from International House residents as well
as other Chicago students, faculty, and alumni. Then-University
President Hugo F. Sonnenschein responded to the outcry by
appointing a committee to evaluate the facility and its programs.
After the committee found that the building was "particularly
well-suited to its mission" and "a significant resource
for the University as a whole," Sonnenschein vowed to
keep the building open and eventually appointed a full-time
director and an interim board of governors to ensure the future
of International House on campus.
future is looking bright. Although I-House revenues dropped
substantially this year because installing the fire alarm
system meant closing more than 60 percent of the rooms, the
renovations are now complete, and Pernet has embarked on a
marketing campaign to attract incoming students to fill the
building's 508 rooms. Pernet and his staff are also concentrating
on programming activities to reclaim I-House's reputation
as the center for international events on campus.-C.S.