First Year Odyssey Students Explore Historic Preservation at UGA

First-year students participating in MHP Professor James Reap’s Odyssey seminar explored historic preservation projects at UGA as part of their course titled “Is There a Future for the Past? An Introduction to Community Heritage Preservation.”  The course uses Athens as a laboratory to explore how communities go about preserving their natural and cultural heritage for future generations.  A major focus of the class is exploring how communities decide what aspects of their heritage should be conserved and the tools and techniques that they use to accomplish their goals.  

On Thursday, September 7, 2017, the students were able to use UGA’s historic North Campus as their laboratory to explore real world examples of preservation.  Scott Messer, UGA MHP alum and Director of Historic Preservation at UGA, introduced the group to several preservation projects that have been completed on North Campus.  After a brief discussion of the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Preservation, students discussed the use of the Standard of Rehabilitation at UGA.  The tour began with Old College, the first preservation project at UGA, which was originally built in 1806 and was saved by alumni in the beginning of the 20th century.  Old College was again redone by the Navy during WWII and most recently, rehabilitated for the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences in 2006 in anticipation of the building’s bicentennial.

After touring Old College, the class moved on to New College to explore the preservation techniques used there.  The class also visited the Administration Buildings, home of the offices of the President and Provost.  Prior to serving as offices, this building was home to the library at UGA and later the Georgia Museum of Art.  The adaptive reuse of the building was concerned with maintaining certain defining characteristics of the building including the volume of the former reading rooms and other finishes.  The last stop on the tour was Phi Kappa Hall.

For the first year students in the Odyssey, they have enjoyed their introduction to Historic Preservation.  For Sophia, she had never really heard of historic preservation before this course but now finds the topic really interesting and enjoys the class.  For Madison, she had heard of historic preservation but did not realize that there were formal written standards regarding what should and shouldn’t be done to historic buildings.  This tour of North Campus allowed her to see these standards in action.