GC’s historic Terrell Hall is undergoing its first major renovation by Garbutt Construction Co. and Lord Aeck Sargent, who will restore the building to its original design while updating its facilities to the modern era.
The project, which includes Kilpatrick Hall’s window replacements, will cost $13.3 million. Georgia’s Governor Nathan Deal and the Georgia General Assembly approved the allocation of the funding from a state general obligation bond, which provides for the construction and development of certain state facilities.
“Once we get all of our approvals together, final acceptance of the fees, we are looking at about a 12-month construction,” said Rick Ruark, associate director of Facilities Planning.
The restored building’s exterior will look almost identical to its original appearance. The previously closed off entry on the building’s north side will be reopened and altered so that the first floor is accessible from the upper levels, and railings will be added to the porch matching the original design.
“All of our projects are submitted to the Historic Preservation Department,” said university architect Michael Rickenbaker.
Terrell Hall was first constructed in 1908 and served as a dormitory until the early 2000s. The building was once connected to Bell Hall by a bridge.
Prior to this year, Terrell Hall had only received a few minor renovations, such as new ceilings and a smoke detection system. The building was brought up to fire code in the 1980s and saw electrical upgrades in the 1990s, but because of air-conditioning issues and wiring problems, GC administration decided it was time to completely revitalize Terrell Hall.
“The good news is Terrell was never fully renovated, so we can actually do it right,” Rickenbaker said.
The building is currently in selective demolition and the beginning phases of design, and construction will begin in the summer of 2018. The restorators are implementing an investigative demolition process, which means removing unwanted materials and rediscovering aspects of the old building’s original look.
“[We’re] opening up some walls so we can see some of the structure and some of the historical elements that may have been covered in the past and identifying some original materials that may have been covered up,” said Rick Ruark.
Terrell Hall served as a dormitory for over 90 years before becoming an office building. The renovations will restore Terrell Hall to its original design.
The workers uncovered the building’s original wood flooring and discovered arches located at each of the entrances, the stairwells and throughout the first floor.
“Once you start looking, you can see remnants where they added on,” Ruark said. “There is a little separation or crack where you can see where the arch was.”
However, the arches, which were concealed by sheetrock, proved difficult to uncover.
“It’s amazing how one generation will cover things up and the next one wants to uncover it and go back to the original,” said Cindy O’Donnell, a GC media relations specialist.
When Beeson Hall reopened in fall 2017 after its renovations, the professors and departments formerly located in Terrell Hall relocated to Beeson and the McIntosh House. When Terrell Hall is completed, the building will mainly be used by GC’s Department of Communication.