Released May 6, 1999
Centre College arts building is testament to historic preservation
When Centre College art students open their 1999 senior show next week, they will be breaking new ground in a very old setting. This year, for the first time, the senior show will be held in the Jones Visual Arts Center, created this year by the massive renovation of what had been an industrial warehouse.
It's appropriate that the art show opens during National Historic Preservation Week, because the Jones Center is one of many buildings that show Centre's commitment to preserving and using historic structures.
Elsewhere on the campus, an old hemp warehouse has become a strikingly beautiful student center, a funeral home has become a bookstore and a once-dilapidated house has become a showcase building where prospective students are welcomed to campus.
Milton Reigelman, special assistant to the president, says the college has been aggressive about historic preservation because it makes good sense financially and emotionally. "We like keeping these buildings because they give us a connection to the past," Reigelman says, "and we've learned that, contrary to what is often said, it's usually cheaper to renovate than to build. Best of all, the finished building is always one of a kind."
The art show opens in the visual arts center Friday, May 15, with a 4 p.m. reception. It will remain open weekdays through May 30. All of Centre's historic buildings are open to the public during business hours on weekdays.
Among the historic buildings recently renovated by Centre are: The Combs Center ("the Warehouse") - Built in 1902 as the Cogar Hemp and Grain Warehouse and renovated as a student center in 1995; Centre Shoppes - Built at the turn-of-the-century as a private residence and later used as a funeral home, it is currently a bookstore and coffee shop; Old Centre - The college's main administration building, built in 1820, has the longest history of continuous use of any college building west of the Alleghenies and was renovated in 1993; Jones Visual Arts Center - Built in the 1920s as the Jackson Chair Company and renovated in fall of 1998 as a visual arts center.
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