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UAPB is restoring a campus building while preserving its past



Pine Bluff, Arkansas – The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff will soon begin renovations at its campus, made possible by a $2 million grant.

The funds will be used by the institution to keep up the preservation of one of its historic structures.

Phase two of UAPB’s renovations is about to begin, with the building’s outside having already undergone some work and soon to be updated inside.

“We are excited to receive another $2 million from the ANCRC to continue the renovations at the Hazzard Gymnasium. Making sure that we’re attempting to bring our facilities to where everybody can take advantage of them,” said Carla Martin, UAPB Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration.

The structure itself is quite significant historically.

When it was still known as AM&N College, in 1958, Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech there at a commencement. That’s one of the things that makes it so unique, according to Martin.

“We don’t want to tear it down. We want to make sure students know what happened there and they can appreciate the historical perspective.” Martin described.

The building’s exterior received the majority of attention during the first renovation phase; the plumbing and HVAC systems are now receiving more attention.

The structure was constructed in the early 1950s.

“It is definitely time for some renovations,” she said.

Martin expressed her gratitude for the grant money that allowed it to happen.

“We just appreciate the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council for making monies like this available for state entities to come in and support the work that needs to be done on the state building,” she added.

The neighborhood will soon be able to enjoy a fresh look for the area that currently houses soccer and ROTC.

“With us having the gymnasium over there, we can do additional basketball tournaments that don’t conflict with our main gymnasium for our athletes. So any opportunity to support panels and workshops, anything that we can do in a large event space, we’re here to assist the city in doing that,” she explained.

Hopefully, this second stage of renovations won’t be the last. Martin stated that UAPB intends to later on apply for grant funds for a third phase.

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