U.S. National Park Service awards SC State $500,000 for Wilkinson Hall preservation

ORANGEBURG, S.C. – The U.S. National Park Service has announced a $500,000 grant for the preservation of historic Wilkinson Hall on the South Carolina State University campus.

This grant is funded by the Historic Preservation Fund and administered by the National Park Service, an agency of the Department of Interior. The funding is part of $9.7 million in NPS funds allocated for 20 preservation projects for historic structures on campuses of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in 10 states.

“HBCUs have been an important part of the American education system for more than 180 years, providing high-level academics, opportunities, and community for generations of students,” NPS Deputy Director Shawn Benge said. “The National Park Service’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities Grant Program provides assistance to preserve noteworthy structures that honor the past and tell the ongoing story of these historic institutions.”

Wilkinson Hall is one of SC State’s historic buildings.

This latest $500,000 grant represents the third round of NPS funding SC State has received for the Wilkinson Hall preservation project.

“On behalf of the South Carolina State University family, I thank the National Park Service for its ongoing support for the Wilkinson Hall revitalization project,” SC State Interim President Alexander Conyers said. “This grant represents the NPS’ third crucial contribution to the project. Wilkinson Hall is an important part of SC State’s history, and preserving it means it will continue to serve generations of students who call our campus home.”

Constructed in 1938, 16,000-square-foot Wilkinson Hall is amid the first phase of renovation and stabilization, which was funded in part by a $50,000 NPS grant received in 2020. In 2018, SC State received a $500,000 NPS grant to fund an initial assessment of Wilkinson, as well as the weatherization of the building.

Wilkinson Hall is amid the first phase of renovation and stabilization resulting from earlier NPS grants

The newest $500,000 NPS grant will go toward HVAC repairs. This project will analyze the current HVAC systems and install new heating and air conditioning if necessary. South Carolina State University will contribute a non-federal match of $32,745.

Michael Allen, a 1982 SC State graduate who retired from the NPS, serves as a historic preservation specialist for the university and is responsible for ensuring that project tasks are completed in a timely manner.

“The restoration of Wilkinson Hall is a critical part of the preservation of the historic district of SC State University,” Allen said. “The National Park Service’s ongoing support of this worthwhile endeavor ensures that Wilkinson Hall will be protected and preserved for students, faculty, administrators and alumni to enjoy.”

Projects funded by these grants will support the physical preservation of National Register listed sites on HBCU campuses to include historic districts, buildings, sites, structures, and objects. Eligible costs include pre-preservation studies, architectural plans and specifications, historic structure reports, and the repair and rehabilitation of historic properties according to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. Since 1995, the NPS has awarded $77.6 million in grants to 66 HBCUs. Congress appropriates funding for the program through the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF). The HPF uses revenue from federal oil leases on the Outer Continental Shelf to provide assistance for a broad range of preservation projects without expending tax dollars.

For more information about the grants and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities program, please visit http://go.nps.gov/hbcu. Applications for another $10 million in funding will be available in the winter.

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Sam Watson
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