The first complete renovation of the Clarke Memorial Hall at Kyoto’s Doshisha University, a symbol of one of Japan’s oldest private educational institutions, is to begin in 2004, more than a century after the building was completed, university officials said Saturday.

The officials said that before the six to seven years of repair work gets under way, temporary repair measures on the hall will begin Monday and be completed by September.

Designated a cultural asset, the two-story Gothic style hall was completed in 1893 under the eye of a German architect.

With its impressive steeple, the hall represents Western-style architecture dating from Japan’s Meiji period (1868-1912).

The university officials said it will be a farewell for the time being for students and alumni who will have to put up with seeing much of the building covered with nets for about 10 years.

Classes will resume for the fall term following the temporary repair work — designed to at least prevent the roof from leaking — but the protective netting will remain in place, according to the officials.

The major repair work will be carried out after consultations with the Agency for Cultural Affairs, they said.

The hall was donated by the Clarke couple from New York who empathized with the philosophy of university founder Jo Niijima and dedicated the building in memory of their lost son.

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