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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 02/09/2023
Shaw University is pleased to announce the successful completion of Phase 1 renovations for some of its most iconic and historic campus buildings. Specifically, Estey Hall, which turns 150 years old this year, reopened to faculty, staff, and students on Feb. 8, 2023.
Phase 1 renovations largely focused on restoring pine tongue-and-groove floorboards in historic Estey Hall, which serves as Shaw University’s principal administrative building. Estey Hall was once regarded as “the finest school building in the state (of North Carolina),” but the flooring had suffered significant damage over the years that also created some potential safety issues. The renovations now mean that the building can safely be used for day-to-day activities, and it allows visitors to appreciate the historic architecture and interior design of Estey Hall. As the oldest building on Shaw University’s campus and the oldest building in the United States dedicated to educating black women, maintaining this building is integral to telling Shaw University’s unique story.
Another key element of Phase 1 renovations included renovating the bathrooms and installing an elevator to improve accessibility in Tupper Hall. In terms of architecture, Tupper Hall is a unique example of the Italian Renaissance Revival, and the building dates back to 1906 when it was first opened as a dormitory, gymnasium, and classroom.
Moving forward, Shaw University plans to continue to assess which buildings on its campus require additional rehabilitation and restoration efforts to ensure that the campus and community’s legacy and historical value are upheld. Shaw University is proud that the National Parks Services has awarded the University a $500,000 grant to help restore Leonard Hall. These funds will be focused on revamping the building’s HVAC system and improving fire safety at Leonard Hall, which currently houses the Shaw University School of Divinity and the Center for Racial and Social Justice. An additional $500,000 grant was awarded for renovation work at Tyler Hall, which is more than 100 years old and has a storied history on the campus as well. The Tyler Hall project will largely focus on upgrades to the building’s windows and the HVAC system. The rehabilitation and restoration work in Estey, Tupper, Leonard, and Tyler Halls is being supported in part by Historically Black Colleges & University grants and an African American Civil Rights grant from the Historic Preservation Fund administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior.
Dr. Paulette Dillard, President of Shaw University, said, “These buildings represent more than a century of historical significance, and they are a vital presence on this campus. We are appreciative of this opportunity to restore the buildings and to ensure their continued legacy.”
Shaw University looks forward to updating the community on its rehabilitation and restoration efforts for historic buildings that will reinforce Shaw University’s commitment to the past while positioning the university for successful 21st-century academic life.
Shaw University, located in Raleigh, North Carolina, is the first historically Black institution of higher education founded in North Carolina and is among the oldest in the nation. The University was founded in 1865 by Henry Martin Tupper. Dr. Paulette Dillard currently serves as the University’s 18th President. For more information, visit: www.shawu.edu
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