Southern Arkansas University has received a generous grant from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council (ANCRC) to benefit the restoration of one of its historic residence halls, Bussey Hall. The grant amounts to a total of $698,060 and is the largest grant the University has received to date from the ANCRC.
The restoration will focus on ensuring Bussey Hall’s viability for future Muleriders by removing and replacing the roof, installing new sinks and vanities in each room, and painting the interior and exterior. Additionally, this project will include reinforcing the building’s attic structure, installing new hardwood floors in the lobby, and providing for masonry work, cleaning and repairs.
Dr. Trey Berry, president of SAU, expressed his gratitude to the ANCRC. “We have a strong partnership, and I am so thankful for the Council’s recognition of the value of this project,” he said. “Restoring this iconic building is a testament to what the ANCRC is all about. We are proud to be partners with the Council.”
“The improvements allowed from this grant will return Bussey Hall to the elegant state she once was,” said Dr. Donna Allen, vice president for student affairs. “We are very grateful to have been given this opportunity for our students.”
“Over the past seven years, the ANCRC has made a profound impact on the campus through grants totaling over $2 million to fund projects such as the restoration of Oliver Recital Hall, the Greek Theatre, Overstreet Hall, the Alexander-Warnock and Ozmer Historic Farmstead and Learning Center, and now Bussey Hall,” said Josh Kee, vice president for advancement. “We are extremely grateful for the generosity of ANCRC to our University, our region, and our state.” Berry thanked Kee and the SAU Advancement team for their hard work in leading the project.
Bussey Hall was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2013. The magnificent 43,568 square-foot women’s residence hall opened on Lane Drive in the spring of 1951 and was named for Jesse and Carol Bussey (1913-1956), longtime dining hall directors. From its opening until today, Bussey Hall has been a home away from home for female students at SAU. It offers spacious residential rooms, a computer lab, small cooking areas, a laundry room, and a lobby area on the first floor.
Bussey Hall houses the Living Learning Communities of Health and Fitness, Studiers Unite and several female sports teams. It is part of a Historic District that includes Dolph Camp and Peace halls. All three were constructed between 1949 and 1957 and have been noted as well-preserved examples of academic Colonial Revival architecture. All three structures are listed as a Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places. Renovations are expected to begin in July and be complete by January 2021.