Grants to finance renovations of 3 Henderson facilities

Grants to finance renovations of 3 Henderson facilities

Russell Fine Arts Center on the campus of Henderson State University, with Smith Hall in the background. | Photo by Henderson State University

Three prominent buildings on the Henderson State University campus will soon be renovated thanks to grants totaling $1.9 million from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council (ANCRC).

Russell Fine Arts, Smith Hall and Mooney Hall are all part of Henderson’s historic district, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places last fall.

Opened in 1964, Russell Fine Arts (RFA) houses Henderson’s music department and digital media production podcast studio.

Harwood Recital Hall, the music department’s primary performance venue, will be improved, along with Evanson Band Hall and the choir room. New flooring will be installed throughout RFA, along with a fresh coat of paint.

Grant funds for Smith Hall cover the cost of replacing and repairing mechanical and electrical elements, including the cooling tower. Smith Hall has been a primary student housing facility in Henderson since its completion in 1965.

Mooney Hall, which houses the Business Department, Henderson Police Department and Student Health and Wellness, is getting a new roof and exterior repairs, including cleaning and repairing the building’s facade.

Mooney opened as student housing in 1933. Much of the refurbishment work has focused on the intricate and architecturally distinctive timber features and clay tile roofs.

“Our partnership with ANCRC has yielded significant and rewarding results for Henderson’s campus. What they have done for us has been truly transformational,” said Henderson Chancellor Dr. Trey Berry. “Thanks to ANCRC, we are preserving historic structures on campus that will benefit our students for years to come.”

The initial design phase of the projects has begun, said Sandra Mabry, director of operations, facilities and construction. Construction will begin once designs and budgets are approved. A tentative completion date has been set for June 30, 2025.

Renovations to Henderson’s Caddo Center were completed earlier this year through a series of ANCRC grants. The historic building had served as the university’s dining hall since 1949, until it was vacated in 2013 when the new Malachi Smith Dining Hall opened. The Caddo Center has been transformed into a consolidated center for student services, including the Office of Admissions.

The Caddo Center lobby gallery also features the Joint Educational Consortium’s Hodges Collection of Native American Artifacts.

ANCRC grants also funded renovations to the Barkman House, which houses the Alumni, Development, Marketing and Communications, and Henderson Foundation offices. The house was built around 1860 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.