$2-million ‘Phase I’ work on Anderson Hall begins

April 16, 2008
Karen B. Eldridge, Director of News and Public Information
865.981.8207; karen.eldridge@maryvillecollege.edu

The last time building materials, construction equipment and scaffolding covered the ground around Anderson Hall, students in its classrooms were likely discussing current events like Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech and “Gordo” Cooper’s mission into space aboard Faith 7. Undergraduates’ essays may have argued the implications of the United States’ participation in the nuclear test ban treaty and Fidel Castro’s visit to the Soviet Union.

The construction that students, faculty and staff members witnessed back in 1963 carved out a suite for Maryville College’s president, dean and development office on Anderson’s first floor.

Some 45 years later, the campus community will witness another renovation of the now 138-year-old Anderson Hall. The work itself could be considered historic, as the College has never before undertaken a comprehensive project that would improve and preserve both exterior and interior features of the College’s oldest and most recognized building.

“Phase I” of the renovation, which includes all exterior improvements, has commenced, according to Dr. Bill Seymour, vice president for administrative services.

“Scaffolding went up on Tuesday. Actual work on the brick may start by the end of this week. This involves removing the old mortar and ‘tuck-pointing,’ which is applying new mortar,” Seymour explained, adding that the bell tower atop the building will be restored, and a new slate roof, gutters and downspouts will be installed as Phase I projects. Contractors will also stabilize the foundation and footings originally poured just four years after the Civil War.

All exterior work is expected to be completed by early fall.

Grieve Associates Architects (GAA) of Knoxville has been hired to head the renovation. Veterans of historic preservation projects, GAA has been in charge of major restorations and renovations in the region, including the old Miller’s Building on Gay Street (now the corporate headquarters for the Knoxville Utilities Board).

Costs for the renovation of Anderson are expected to total $6 million. Fundraising for the project is a portion of the College’s $83-million “Our Window of Opportunity” capital campaign, which will also fund a $47-million Civic Arts Center (Clayton Center for the Arts), add to the College’s endowment and support the Maryville Fund for day-to-day operations.

According to Jason McNeal, vice president for advancement and community relations, the College has raised almost $71 million for the campaign to date; nearly $2 million for Phase I of Anderson.

“Since the beginning of our campaign, we knew that Anderson Hall would hold special meaning for Maryville alumni and the community. We also knew that two major capital projects would require a good deal of time and space planning. As we begin the final phase of CAC fundraising, we are now positioned to invite Maryville alumni and others to help restore our campus icon.”

Phase II will bring Anderson into the 21st century

Phase II of the renovation includes all interior improvements and renovations, with work so extensive that the building will close for several months. The vision for “new” Anderson, according to McNeal, is “a learning space for the 21st century.”

Drawing parallels between the reconstruction of Fayerweather Hall following a 1999 fire, the vice president said the renovated Anderson will look like the Anderson Hall of old on the outside, but inside, the space will be configured differently to accommodate 21st-century teaching and learning spaces for faculty and students.

The building will be wired for state-of-the-art technology and be made completely handicap accessible, which includes, among other measures, installing an elevator. It will boast different kinds of workspaces – classrooms, office spaces, and meeting rooms. Although no definite timetable has been approved for Phase II, Seymour said he expects construction workers to return to the site following the completion of the Civic Arts Center.

“When the Fine Arts Center and Wilson Chapel were razed to make way for the Civic Arts Center (CAC), the faculty and staff members of the Fine Arts Division were relocated to a renovated space inside Thaw Hall,” he said. “They’re expected to work and teach there until early 2010, when we expect the CAC to open. Our thought is that we wouldn’t displace the Humanities and Education divisions [which presently inhabit Anderson] until we have adequate space for them on campus.”

Anderson is important to College’s history

Anderson Hall was opened in 1870 and named for the Rev. Isaac Anderson, Maryville College’s founder. Originally constructed at a cost of $25,000, its design copies “in some measure, the Indiana State University,” according to an 1869 article in the Knoxville Weekly Whig.

The article continues: “Such an edifice will be an ornament to Maryville, and will add much to the interest of the traveler in his trip by railroad from Cincinnati via Knoxville to Charleston.”

Funding for the original structure came from Northern philanthropists William Thaw and John Baldwin and the Freedmen’s Bureau, which gave $13,000 in support of the College’s policy of “excluding none from its benefits by reason of race or color.”

In 1892, an addition to the rear of Anderson, paid for by a bequest from the estate of Daniel Fayerweather, doubled its size. The “Fayerweather Annex” gave the building its present “T-wing” floor plan.

In its long history, the building has served the College in a variety of ways, housing classrooms, the library, a chapel, administrative offices (including the president’s office until 2001) and an art gallery. It is believed that, given Anderson’s multi-functionality and the humanities courses required in the College’s core curriculum, all Maryville College graduates – starting in 1870s and continuing through today – have traversed its halls.

Anderson Hall was entered on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. Its application describes the building as “extremely important to the city of Maryville” because of its value as an “outstanding architectural landmark” and its role “in the educational realm during the critical period following the Civil War.”

McNeal said that the College highlighted Anderson Hall and the plans for its renovation in a 2006 College magazine. Response was overwhelmingly positive, especially from alumni, he said.

“It’s the iconic building on campus, and generations of alumni resonate with Anderson Hall more than with any other building on campus,” he said. “It’s an important part of our heritage, and a building that we want to serve the College well in the next 100-plus years.”

Stories, interviews, photos and audio files of alumni sharing their memories of Anderson – all created for the magazine – are still available online. Visit “Focus Summer 2006.”

To make a gift for the renovation of Anderson Hall or other initiatives of our capital campaigns, contact Holly Sullivan at 865.981.8884 or holly.sullivan@maryvillecollege.edu.

To make a gift for the renovation of Anderson Hall or other initiatives of the “Our Window of Opportunity” capital campaign, contact McNeal at 865.981.8197 or jason.mcneal@maryvillecollege.edu.