The University of Central Arkansas Division of Advancement has been awarded an $800,000 grant from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council (ANCRC) for renovation and restoration of McCastlain Hall on the campus.
The grant will be used to restore many of the original features of McCastlain Hall, as well as update technology within the structure. Renovations in the East Commons include a coffered ceiling and installing the latest audio-visual equipment. The project also features a new Grand Hallway which will create a pathway linking the East Commons, historic Fireplace Room, and Baum Gallery of Art.
"We are so grateful to the ANCRC board of directors for their generous funding of this project," said Dr. Gayle Seymour, associate dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication and co-writer of the grant. "Through efficient repair and alteration for contemporary use, we intend to increase not only the usefulness of this building, but also its visibility as a cultural center for our campus and the community."
K.C. Poole, interior design internship instructor, was also co-writer of the grant. Randy Stocks and Melissa Rodgers of Stocks-Mann Architects, PLC, were the architectural consultants.
Built in 1939 as the first stand-alone cafeteria on campus, McCastlain Hall is now one of eight buildings comprising UCA’s Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 18, 2013. ANCRC funded a planning grant in 2013 to thoroughly review and plan for the renovation project.
"UCA is committed to honoring its past by preserving for future use many of the historic buildings on campus," said President Tom Courtway. "This latest grant is the largest of the five grants we’ve received from ANCRC."
ANCRC awarded a $300,000 grant for the renovation of the Ida Waldran auditorium in 2011 and $152,000 to add two restrooms on the first floor of Old Main in 2012.
The ANCRC was established by the Arkansas Legislature in 1987 by Arkansas Act 729 (now codified as Arkansas Code Annotated 15-12-101 through 15-12-103). The act created the ANCRC to manage and supervise a grants and trust fund for the acquisition, management, and stewardship of state-owned properties acquired or used for ANCRC approved purposes. The grants are funded through state’s real estate transfer tax. The ANCRC consists of 11 voting members. Grants from this fund are for projects that protect and maintain state-owned natural areas, historic sites, and outdoor recreation.