Construction crews began transforming part of Tuskegee University’s unique historic backdrop by removing the distinctive domed-roof of Tompkins Hall in July 2012. A complete overhaul of the building that once housed student dining is part of more than $85 million in ongoing renovation and construction projects meant to enhance the campus’ physical infrastructure.
Since 2010, construction and renovation to address deferred maintenance and growing needs have been among the main priorities for Tuskegee University's president. In addition to the renovation of Tompkins Hall, two residence halls have been completely transformed; and a building to house classrooms and laboratories is under construction.
Part of historic landscape to be renovated
Designed by renowned black architect, Robert R. Taylor, and opened in 1910, Tompkins Hall is among the oldest of the campus’ more than 100 buildings. It served as the student dining hall until severe roof damage caused its closing in February 2011.
Now, Tompkins’ is a far cry from its former self as the iconic domed roof is gone and the interior has been completely gutted. The historic brick building’s interior will be transformed into a modern multipurpose facility with a new dome that will be supported with a steel framework. When work is completed in summer 2013, Tompkins will house a dining facility, an auditorium, and an Internet cafe. A new additional floor will be for multi-use purposes and also serve as emergency shelter space.
Modern place to live
When students returned to campus in August 2012, they were greeted with changes in the residence halls. Lillian Harvey and Rockefeller halls underwent major transformations that updated their look and housing standards. Built in 1945, the four-story Harvey Hall could only accommodate about 95 to 100 female students. The building had an antiquated interior with a common shower setup. The interior was completely gutted and updated while the brick exterior received some cosmetic changes.
The renovated hall is able to house about 126 students who now live in a more modern suite-style arrangement that features semi-private bathrooms. Also, the laundry facilities and areas for study and cooking have been redone. The hall has new appliances, furniture and Internet access.
Originally built in 1903, Rockefeller Hall can accommodate 86 male students and underwent much of the same renovations as Harvey Hall. It also has suite-style living arrangements and semi-private bathrooms as well as Internet access.
New place to learn
Ground was broken on the James Henry Meriwether Henderson Hall Agricultural Life Science Teaching, Extension and Research Building in late May 2012. The facility will house classrooms, laboratories and a seminar room for use by students. It will be a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified building that will utilize sustainable construction practices. Harold “Kippy” Tate, vice president of capital projects and facility services, said all future building projects on campus would incorporate energy-conserving design and use LEED certification practices.
“It’s an example of being with the times. It’s taking into consideration, our carbon footprint and what that means to our life on this earth,” Tate said. “We have to progress with new technologies that help our buildings and help us exist on this planet.”
Henderson Hall will feature many energy-efficient mechanical and plumbing elements such as a rainwater harvesting system that will collect water for landscape irrigation and motion sensors that will turn off lights when rooms are not in use. The building will also have state-of-the-art technology features such as data connections and wireless Internet throughout the building, and rooms with video conferencing capabilities. Construction is expected to be complete by this summer.
Projects in development
There are three facilities that are in the programming phase. Renovations are planned for Luther Foster Hall. Built in 1970, the building serves as the primary education and research facility for the College of Engineering. During the summer, interior improvements were made to classrooms, computer labs, laboratories and offices. The planned renovations include: roof replacement and upgrades to the HVAC, lighting and plumbing systems. A start date will be determined at a later time. The Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital will be a new hospital for large and small animals. The facility will include shared space for imaging, anesthesiology, medical records, pharmacy and general support. Anticipated start date will be in October. Improvements are also planned for the Williams-Bowie Building in Birmingham, Ala. This research facility is affiliated with the School of Veterinary Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health. The four phases of renovations include: roof replacement, fire alarm system upgrades, HVAC and architectural improvements. Two phases have been completed and the final completion date will be determined later.
One campus-wide improvement project is also in the programming phase. The Chevron Energy Power Distribution project consists of upgrading the university’s existing power distribution system as well as providing and implementing energy-saving equipment and systems. A start date has not been determined.
There are three university construction projects that are currently in the design phase: Black Belt Family Farm Marketing and Innovation Center, a produce processing and distribution center in Selma, Ala.; Carver Integrative Sustainability Center, a facility to provide information on government programs and expertise from United States Department of Agriculture agents; and a Red Meat Processing Facility. The Carver Center and Black Belt Family Farm projects will start later this year. A start date for the processing facility will be determined in the future.
Charles E. Tompkins Hall