Over the summer, The Muselman House, the presidential home, received major renovations for President Michael Lindsay and his family.
The Muselman home is ever-evolving, changing to accommodate each new president and the university’s needs.
The house was originally built to be private living quarters. But, it has undergone other alterations since its start, based on necessity. Additionally, children have not lived in the home since the early ’80s.
“When Dr. Gene Habecker came, he saw it as a university asset that should be used to help with the functions of Taylor,” Ron Sutherland, special assistant to the president, said. “We needed a public space … so a Great Room was added. It was Gene’s attempt to say ‘I want students to be able to use this space,’ so that became the public quarters of the house.”
Previous Interim President Paige Comstock Cunningham continued to make use of the great room and public part of the home by hosting events such as game nights and Saturday breakfasts for students.
Following Habecker’s tenure, the upstairs bedrooms became a place for university guests and large donors to stay when in town. Lindsay wants to continue hosting guests, while still having private living quarters for his family.
The family consulted about design elements they needed in their new home. They particularly wanted convenient access points for the family members to care for the medical needs of their eldest daughter, Elizabeth.
In addition to personal preferences, routine upkeep was also completed. The carpet was replaced, the washer and dryer were moved to the living quarters and a room was repainted.
The proposal project began at the end of last school year. Multiple vendors were consulted to evaluate costs, and the lowest projection was chosen.
After approval, the project was completed over the summer. While Sutherland recognizes that this is impressive by average construction standards, he said that this is the usual for Taylor. The house is almost done, barring a few components that are not available until after Thanksgiving.
“Once the board understood the need, they stepped up to cover the cost of that,” Lindsay’s office said. “That's been a real blessing to see that happen. It didn't take any other new resources from the university.”
Due to product delay, in part caused by industries disrupted by COVID-19, items ranging from garage doors to mechanical parts are backordered for three to four months.
Many of the current furnishings in the home are donations on loan until backordered items are delivered.
“We just worked around those and again grateful for the people who helped make that happen,” Lindsay’s office said..
The house was built in the late ’50s, along with the majority of the current campus as documented in the Taylor archives. Its design is credited to Austin Knowlton in a Taylor Times article from 2003.
Knowlton was a university architect and friend of Milo Rediger. He also designed Wengatz, Olson, Reade and several other Taylor buildings.
Sutherland said that he enjoys the process each time, because it helps the president adjust to Taylor, and have the home reflect their personal preferences.
“That's why I think the board stepped up and said we're going to help make sure that this happens,” Sutherland said.