Not only does the design for Milavec Hall bring light and openness to a damp, dark, abandoned former retail building; it creates a gateway for the new east campus of Monroe College. This 20,000 sf building is located in the former Librett’s Hardware Store and would be naturally dark because it was built into a hill. Our solution was to create a large center space with a feature skylight to bring in natural light and create a focal point. Knowing that the future neighboring building would be much taller, Milavec Hall was conceived as a gate that would someday span between two taller dormitories and its facade is articulated as a series of large piers. Extensive reconstruction of the facade, a new roof, and refurbishment of the slab and exterior foundation walls was required to make the building watertight and provide universal access. Economical materials typically used by the College were enlivened by careful use of color and enhanced by using a limited amount of higher grade finishes in select areas. Finer materials such as granite and limestone at the facade and custom light fixtures were used to demarcate the importance of the building as the administrative centerpiece of the educational institution.