Health & Safety


 Holton Hall

Building #1936
2442 E. Hartford Avenue
Built: 1899
Renovated: 1980

Space: 60,533 gsf

Four stories plus basement

Original Cost: $114,349

Building History:

Holton Hall was acquired in the Milwaukee-Downer campus purchase. It had been named for Edward D. Holton (1815-1902), a member of the Board of Trustees of Milwaukee College (1853-1872), pioneer railroad builder, banker, and insurance executive. He donated $37,500 to Milwaukee College in 1892.

Holton Hall was used as a dormitory by Milwaukee-Downer College and by UWM until the summer of 1970, when Sandburg Hall opened. It was then occupied by the School of Architecture and the Center for Advanced Study in Organization Science until 1973, when the School of Architecture moved to Engelmann Hall and the Center was discontinued.

Early in 1973, plans were made to raze the building because of its condition and the estimated cost of renovation. Largely through the efforts of the Committee for the Renovation of Downer Buildings, Holton, Merrill, Johnston, and Greene Halls were designated as landmark buildings by the Milwaukee Landmarks Commission in July, 1973. The University delayed acceptance of the designation and the plaques until an architecture firm studied the buildings from an architectural, engineering, and historical viewpoint to help determine the final fate of the buildings.

In 1974, the architecture firm of Brielmaier, Sherer, and Sherer made a study of the Downer College and Seminary buildings to determine their historic and aesthetic value, and to see what repairs and alterations were necessary. In February 1975, the University Board of Regents adopted a resolution approving "the concept of historic preservation and renovation of the Downer College and Seminary Buildings...subject to fiscal availability..." No funds were committed, but it was estimated that the first stage of a four-stage plan would cost approximately $2,900,000.

Asbestos Synopsis:

  • This section is still under development.
  • See DOA-DFD WALMS inspection for room-by-room building survey (November 2002).
  • Extensive floor tile sampling in this building; see file and bulk sample inventory for additional information. With few exceptions, most tile is negative and black mastic is positive for ACM.
  • Fourth floor HVAC room flooring is ACM transite board.
  • With the exception of one sample of plaster debris discovered in G63, all job-mixed original plaster samples taken to date have been negative for ACM. Please request bulk sample analysis prior to major demolition projects involving original job-mixed plaster.
  • Red concrete floor layer discovered in G79, below 1980 flooring, had trace ACM. The tar paper layer over the concrete was negative. See file photos below:.
  • basementG79_view_eastS 



  • Room G58 was abated late-October 2002 due to the sewerage leak in room G58 (basement and crawl space). 
  • Though the basement was not part of the 1980's renovation, we still recommend a protective suit for personnel performing maintenance in this area.
  • Basement photos from 2002 abatement:




DFD #02H2O Project-Post Abatement (July 2003):

Sample Debris Photos






  • South conduit in Holton/Merrill basement; this extends about 20' south.
    This space does not permit abatement:


  • Post abatement view of Pit 2 south conduit:


  • Post abatement views of Holton/Merrill crawl space:




Confined Space Information:

The basement and crawl space deserve special precautions, as both areas were contaminated with asbestos pipe insulation debris.

  • Both areas are essentially asbestos-free after the last abatement in July 2003 (during a sewer line break).
  • Both sewerage and TSI was cleaned at that time; attempts were made to disinfect the area.
  • Personnel entering the basement may do so without any special precautions (e.g., inspection, sump pump maintenance, etc.)

The crawl space under G57, however, does require special equipment and precautions.

  • Personnel entering this space must crawl over the soil, which was once contaminated with sewerage. 
  • Poly sheeting was placed over much of the soil during the July 2003 abatement, to permit easier access for inspection and maintenance.
  • It is highly recommended that personnel entering this space, for inspection or maintenance, wear protective, disposable clothing to prevent clothing and skin contamination.
  • Respiratory protection may be warranted, to prevent dust inhalation (this IS a 100+ year building!) Please check with Physical Plant Services for respirator selection.
  • Due to the lack of sufficient air monitoring data, we are currently classifying this space as an OSHA (c)(5) Alternate Entry Confined Space-Hazards controlled by continuous forced air ventilation, for procedures other than inspection.
  • For inspection purposes, personnel shall monitor the air with the multi-gas detector. After sufficient air monitoring data is collected, this space may be reclassified to a (c)(7) space for maintenance purposes as well.