Southern University and A&M College received a grant of nearly $500k from The National Park Service to preserve and protect a 180-year-old building on the Baton Rouge campus, according to WBRZ-TV.
The grant, one of 18 awarded to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), is to protect and restore Southern’s oldest building — the Archives Building. It is a landmark building, residing on the Southern University National Historic District on the bluff of the Mississippi River.
“These grants help us to honor the legacy of HBCUs in serving our nation’s higher education needs,” said David Vela, former deputy director of the National Park Service. “Funding awarded this year will help preserve 18 historic properties on HBCU campuses in 12 states, many of which are listed in the National Register.”
The grant funding will be used to stabilize grounds and offer students hands-on learning opportunities in historical preservation.
“The Archives Building represents the humble beginnings of Southern University and we appreciate the support from the National Parks Service in recognizing the significance of preserving this property,” added Ray L. Belton, president-chancellor of the Southern University System. “More importantly, this effort is an opportunity for us to continue to honor our founders and ensure that future generations know the history of the University.”
In the early years, The Archives Building was used as the university president’s home, administration building, women’s residence, dining hall, infirmary, and a social center.
The Southern’s Office of Facility Services will oversee the project and estimates the rehabilitation will be complete by mid-2021.