Ronan Hall was designed by Roger Allen and Associates of Grand Rapids, the
architects for most of CMU's buildings. It was originally built as a library,
because the existing library space in Warriner Hall was too crowded. Ronan brought
a new era to libraries at Central. It was the first library here to have open
browsing stacks instead of relying on staff to retrieve books for patrons. It
was dedicated on April 26, 1956.
The naming of this building is somewhat confusing. When first constructed,
it was called the Park Library, which is the name later given to the current
library. Afterwards, it was named after Bertha Ronan. An older building which
was demolished in 1970 had also been named for Ronan, leading to the confusion
of the two buildings.
In addition to the library, the building also housed the Clarke Historical
Library, a collection of Michigan-related historical documents, until the Park
Library opened in 1969. The Clarke was dedicated on December 8, 1956. The building
also housed the Center for Cultural and Natural History from its inception on
March 30, 1971, until it moved to Rowe Hall in 1975. At one point, the university's
closed-circuit television studio was housed in the building.
Ronan now houses the Department of Teacher Education and Professional Development,
the Affirmative Action Office, and the College of Education and Human Services.
hall was named for Bertha M. Ronan, who was a professor in the Department of
Physical Education from 1903-1923, and Dean of Women from 1923 until her retirement