UCA receives grant to update McAlister Hall

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,262 views 

Rendering of a renovated McAlister Hall at UCA.

The University of Central Arkansas has received a $549,537 grant from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council (ANCRC) to be used for updating and renovating McAlister Hall.

The renovation is expected to begin in January 2023 and is tentatively scheduled to open before fall 2023.

With the upcoming opening of the Wingate Center for Fine and Performing Arts, most of the Department of Art and Design will be moving out of McAlister Hall and the Schichtl Studio Arts Building. The Schedler Honors College will move from McAlister Hall to Schichtl and the interior design program will remain in McAlister Hall.

“Since there were many moving pieces, we found this was a great opportunity to do restorative work to the building,” said Sara Bailey, proposal development specialist in the UCA office of research and sponsored programs, who wrote and submitted the proposal.

The project will involve several aspects, including:

  • Expanding and restoring the east lobby to its original design;
  • Renovating restrooms and making them compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations;
  • Renovating a storage area to a family-friendly restroom;
  • Renovating the student lounge;
  • Creating a new Nutrition and Family Sciences Community Engagement Center;
  • Reconfiguring the Nutrition and Family Sciences reception suite; and
  • Building an accessible ramp at the south entrance.

Danielle Barron, director of planning, design, and construction and a former professor of interior design, will be leading the project as the principal investigator.

“This is an important building with a lot of history. This grant will allow us to make much-needed updates to the building,” Barron said. “When it is complete, it will be a part of the campus that is not only welcoming to the UCA community but also to veterans who use the building and the Conway community.”

McAlister Hall is one of eight campus buildings comprising UCA’s Historic District listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The other locations are Old Main, Ida Waldran Auditorium, Harrin Hall, Wingo Hall, the President’s House, McCastlain Hall, Bernard Hall and Ferguson Memorial Chapel.

Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, who serves as secretary of the ANCRC said, “The ANCRC Trust Fund has funded over $495 million in projects since its first grants were made in 1989. Many important buildings and properties across Arkansas have been saved for future generations by the fund and we are a better state for it.”