News + Events

Restoration of FHU’s Old Main Begins

Henderson, Tennessee - Aug 14, 2018

​ Long-awaited work to restore Old Main on the Freed-Hardeman University campus has begun, according to Executive Vice President Dwayne Wilson.

 

Asbestos abatement has been done and the dropped ceiling and chapel hall seats have been removed, Wilson said. The seats, however, will be returned to their proper places after the metal frames are outfitted with new wood. Plans call for common spaces such as hallways, lobbies, stairs and Chapel Hall to be restored as nearly as possible to their original condition.

Offices, classrooms and restrooms will be renovated and technology will be added to meet current needs. An elevator will be installed on the south side of Old Main where a 1950’s addition joins the original building. The elevator will reach all five levels of the building.

Alliance Corporation of Glasgow, Kentucky, has been contracted to do the work on the building. Plans call for the project to be completed in May 2019, in time for the university’s 150th anniversary celebration.

When completed, Old Main will house the Department of Behavioral Sciences and the Department of Communication, Language and Literature.

A.G. Freed and N.B. Hardeman built Old Main in 1908 by to house Southern Teachers’ Normal and Business College. Its iconic bell tower has long been the symbol of the university. Well-known architect Hubert T. McGee, a native of Jacks Creek and an alumnus of Georgie Robertson Christian College, a predecessor institution of FHU, designed the building. Local craftsmen using local materials built it. The oldest public building in the county, Old Main was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.

The $5.5 million goal to restore Old Main was reached last year. “We are grateful to all of the many donors to this project,” FHU President David Shannon said, “and we look forward to again using this historic facility. I particularly appreciate the tireless efforts and dedication of Dr. Milton Sewell as he raised the money for this project,” Shannon said.

Chester County residents contributed more than $1 million to the campaign. The local effort was led by Regina East, Kay Tignor and the late Larry Tignor.