Hendrix College is as much part of David and Pebble Sutherland’s family as any heirloom.
The legacy of attending the school has been passed down like a favorite trinket.
Not only did Pebble, who graduated in 1985, and David, who graduated in 1981, both attend Hendrix — they met at Arkansas’ Governors School in the summer of 1984 — but that’s also where Pebble’s parents met, where both her siblings met their spouses and also the place her daughter graduated from as well.
In addition, the Sutherlands were married on campus in Greene Chapel.
Pebble said Hendrix is everything to her family.
“It’s home,” David said.
Years after graduation, David is the associate provost for academic affairs and still walks the same pathways he did as a student.
He is able to not only spout off history of every building and which ones have been there the longest but has memories of being in each one, including Hulen Hall that was recently torn down and will be replaced with the Miller Creative Quad.
Hulen Hall was built in 1950 and named after Georgia Mitchell Hulen who came to Hendrix in 1917 with her husband G.A. Hulen.
In the spring of 1918, when the office of college dietician became vacant, Hulen filled the post and worked for nearly 40 years in dining at Tabor Hall and then later in Hulen Hall when the first meal was served Jan. 2, 1950.
“How many places would a building be named after a cafeteria director,” David said, smiling.
The $300,000 building was designed as a student center which featured a modern kitchen, a dining room, a ballroom, a bookstore and snack bar, the post office, a smaller dining room, faculty lounge, offices for the student senate and also housed the school radio station.
The Sutherlands said Hulen Hall facilitated that community-type feel that both say they remember about their time on campus.
“Hulen was definitely the center of campus,” Pebble said.
David said everything social that went on happened in Hulen Hall, especially since areas like the Village at Hendrix weren’t there yet and Front Street was relatively vacant at the time.
David said he wasn’t surprised when Hendrix administration decided to bring Hulen Hall down because it truly was in bad shape and had been vacant for years. He said he knew it was time for it to go.
“I came over and watched it almost everyday as they were taking it down because it was a slow process,” he said.
David said first came the ballroom, then the sun porch, cafeteria, the campus center and then the post office.
“The last thing standing was the bookstore,” he said. “For me, it was kind of like saying goodbye.”
One thing that has been fun, David said, is how Hendrix has saved pieces of concrete and has re-purposed lattice from Hulen Hall into hanging space in the Student Life and Technology Center.
David said the space on campus is large and empty, awaiting the construction of the Miller Creative Quad to start.
While he was sad to see it go, he said the new building will give opportunity to reinvigorate the center of campus, which was previously blocked off by the vacant building students were forced to walk around.
Despite Hulen Hall being gone, David said the presence of what it did for Hendrix is still there — the community feel, the energy of campus, the history, the memory of Georgia Hulen and the legacy she left behind.
That aspect is exactly what designers Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects are trying to achieve and incorporate with the new design; one that combines the old with the new.
Toni Gocke Wyre is the interior designer for the project. She also attended and graduated from Hendrix so the project is “near and dear” her heart, she said.
She said when she was a student from 1992-1996, Hulen Hall was “very much the heart of the campus” and the new quad will keep with that theme as well, knowing from the beginning how important it was to get this building right.
Wyre said the exterior of the building will have a node to the past in design but the interior will have a more modern feel, pushing to the future.
She said the team wanted to give people a sense of delight in what was put inside the building and fill it with items that would force people to stop and take joy in what was inside and one way they have accomplished that feel is with the use of a lot of glass windows for passersby to be able to look directly in.
The $24 million mixed-use project will include two buildings that will combine facilities for the creative arts with new student living space on the second and third floors.
The south building will feature music practice rooms, music faculty offices and a digital lab and the 990-square-foot auditorium will include a film screening room to serve the growing film studies program but also student-organized move events and others.
The main focal point of the project will be the Windgate Museum of Art in the north building.
Wyre said when completed, the quad will be a great enclosure and a great way to bring people together while fitting the need of the campus.
Everything that Hulen Hall was and included, she said, was factored into the concepts and ideas of the new plan.
“I think it’s very nice link to draw that the new building is paying homage to all those concepts and ideas,” Wyre said. “I think all in all, the building will provide a great place to live, work and play.”
She said was humbled to work on the Miller Creative Quad and the way it will respect the memory of Hulen Hall while also ushering the campus into the future.
Other members of the project team include Principal Architect Wesley Walls, Project Manager Heather Davis and Architect Intern Jessica Wood.
EDG Landscaping and Pettit & Pettit Consulting Engineers are also part of the project.