Athens, Ga. – A year-long project to modernize the University of Georgia’s oldest building, Old College, while preserving its historical integrity has earned an award from the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation.
The project, completed in 2006 to mark the building’s bicentennial, received an Excellence in Rehabilitation award during the Georgia Trust’s recent annual meeting.
Old College is one of eight winners of the rehabilitation award, which recognizes projects that make compatible use of a building through repair, alterations or additions while preserving features of the property that convey its historic value.
The project was the third-and most extensive-major upgrade in the 200-year history of the building that is a landmark of UGA’s historic North Campus. Completed in 1806, Old College is UGA’s first permanent building and is the oldest structure in Athens and one of the oldest in Northeast Georgia.
The rehabilitation work included installing new mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems including central heat and air conditioning; restoring exterior masonry; and adding a new roof made of stronger materials. The building was brought into full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act by adding a below-grade wheelchair ramp and an elevator to all four floors, and installing handicapped accessible restrooms on each floor.
The exterior masonry work included using replacement bricks stained to match the building’s original bricks and using new mortar that closely matches the historic color, texture and physical properties of the original mortar.
To protect historic trusses in the building’s attic, workers had to remove some chimneys that were not original to the building but had been in place so long they had become a familiar feature of North Campus. Replacement chimneys were designed and constructed to be faithful to the building’s historic nature.
Work began in June 2005 and was completed in August 2006. The project was carried out by UGA and the architectural firm of Lord, Aeck & Sargent.
Over the years, Old College has served many purposes ranging from residence hall and dining hall to classrooms and faculty office space. The building now houses the dean and administrative staff of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.
The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, founded in 1973, is one of the country’s largest statewide, nonprofit preservation organizations. From its beginning, the Trust has given awards that recognize preservation projects and individuals for significant contributions to the field of historic preservation. The awards are presented on compliance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.