History Department
History Department

Garrison Hall gets ready to be renovated

Fri, July 21, 2006

The History Department's main office will be on the 5th floor of BUR, Room 536. All telephone numbers for faculty and staff will be the same.

In preparation for the construction to begin, they have been digging for soil samples around the building. "This will tell the contractors what kinds of soil they will be dealing with before they start the construction of new walkways for wheelchair accessibility to the building and other minor outside utility work," said Project Coordinator Ralph Jones of the Office of Campus Planning.

Over the years, there have only been minor improvements made such as the installation in the 60s of a new heating and air conditioning system (maybe not such a minor improvement). And there has been the upgrade of the auditorium, GAR 1, but no full-scale renovation according to Frank McIlhaney, from UT's facilities services office.

The architect firm for the project is Carter Burgess of San Antonio. They have been having numerous meetings with historical consultants, the contractor, along with personnel from various UT divisions and the History Department for the past several months. Since it is one of the oldest buildings on campus, the architect firm has met with an historical consultant to try and preserve as much of the original building as possible.

"UT in general is very sensitive about preserving the historical significance of its buildings, if at all financially feasible," said Cesar Silva of Carter Burgess architect firm. And luckily, it is looking like all of Garrison's gorgeous, wooden windows, some that are arched and measure 8 ft. x 6 ft. will not have to be replaced. "They are in remarkably good condition. We think we will be able to just reroute them so double-paned glass can fit in the grooves, which will make them meet energy code standards of today," Silva added.

However, the interior has a whole list of things to be done. The project manager said they will include all new:

1) mechanical
2) electrical
3) plumbing
4) telecommunications
5) data systems
6) restrooms installed on every floor
7) elevator that will go all the way up to the 4th floor (instead of stopping on the 3rd floor)
8) fire sprinkler system installation

Upgrades include:
1) half of 4th floor will become the mechanical room
2) other half of 4th floor will be converted into open space for graduate students' offices
3) some of the existing "dormers"€ on roof (little roof on sides of larger roof that let in ventilation) will be converted into windows to let in natural light on the 4th floor
4) and life, safety, and accessibility upgrades.

"The cost of this renovation project is $11,440,000," said Jones. GAR was built for an estimated cost of $260,000 in 1926 for just over 54,000 sq. ft. The architect was Herbert M. Green (1871-1932) of Dallas.

Green also later collaborated with another architect in the design of the Main Building and Tower, again using the "Beaux-arts style" of architecture that is based on axial arrangement of the buildings along the north-south and east-west axis, symmetry, and traditional principles of balance.

How long will this renovation take? Possibly one to two years, but then the History Department gets to move back into its home since 1926. And it will be none too soon for any of us. We already miss the spacious halls, large windows, beautifully finished wooden doors, being in the center of campus, and we haven't even moved yet.

Related Sites:
Carter Burgess Engineering, Architecture, and Related ServicesOffsite Link
Flintco Construction SolutionsOffsite Link

Last updated 21 July 2006

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