Lacey Hall Benefits from Maranatha’s TLC
For the past three summers, the UCA girls’ dormitory has been the recipient of some serious attention from some Maranatha volunteers. Just as school gets out, a group of these dedicated and skilled volunteers arrives to spend several weeks helping around our campus. Their gifts of time and talents are always a boost, but with the daunting task of the long overdue Lacey Hall updates, Maranatha’s help was especially appreciated over the last few years.
The girls’ dorm was recently named Lacey Hall in honor of Florence Lacey, who served at UCA for close to 25 years. Most recently she was the Vice Principal for Academics and Registrar, and she was loved by students and fellow staff members alike.
Dani Rivera served as head girls’ dean from 2020 until March of this year, when she stepped away to devote her full attention to a new baby daughter. She has been involved in the project since it began, and she shares that God’s hand has been evident from the start. “What a rollercoaster the Lacey Hall renovation has been! Throughout the entire project, we have seen God work in many amazing ways! Our faith has been tested, and many times it was tempting to be discouraged.”
The first phase of the renovation happened during the summer of 2021. This portion included all the rooms on the third floor as well as the guest rooms on the first floor. According to Rivera, “The financial needs were great, and available funds were short. We began the project during the Covid 19 pandemic, and contractors were booked months in advance, building supplies were expensive and difficult to obtain, and our window of time for completing the renovations was only eight weeks. But as phase one of the project unfolded, God’s guidance was readily apparent. Despite all the obstacles, the work was almost all finished by the time the school year started!”
During the summer of 2022, phase two of the renovation was completed. This included almost all of the first and second floor rooms, lobbies, offices, and hallways. Says Rivera, “We gutted each room, painted all surfaces, and installed new carpet, cabinetry, electrical, and sinks. The hallways and center lobby received fresh paint along with new carpet and trim.” She goes on to share that during both summers, the vast majority of the demolition and painting was completed by the Maranatha volunteer team. “They did a tremendous job, going above and beyond to do repairs and patching, removing and recycling the debris, and prepping for all the other contractors to follow.”
In addition to the important cosmetic and functional updates already mentioned, several other necessary repairs became unavoidable during the 2021-2022 school year. The girls’ dorm roof required replacement after several major leaks caused flooding in multiple rooms and the boilers that provide heat finally succumbed after years of heavy use.
As school started last year, the girls were able to move into a newly updated space, and Rivera reports that the difference this made in their lives was remarkable. “They have a fresh, clean space to make their own. Gone are all the stained, damaged, and broken cabinets, carpet, and sinks. They no longer have to struggle against broken and jammed drawers or try to glue down peeling countertops. The new carpet tiles provide for easy replacement if something gets stained and increased electrical outlets give additional easy access to plug in things all around the room. The hodge podge of poorly painted, different colored rooms is replaced with uniform, light walls, perfect as a blank canvas for décor and for combatting the dark days of winter. Hearing the exclamations and excitement from parents and students on move in day as they experienced the bright, fresh halls and the clean new rooms was incredibly rewarding!”
In recent weeks, Maranatha returned to campus and again focused on Lacey Hall as one of their projects, painting stairwells and replacing an exterior entry staircase. However, even with volunteer assistance, the cost of these projects has been a challenge. “We are on a journey of faith,” says Rivera. “We covet your prayers as we continue to trust that the God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills and can call forth coins out of the mouths of fishes has an awe-inspiring plan to provide for our comparatively trivial needs. Thank you for your prayers and support!”
By Dani Rivera and Krista Mikkelson