KSU Receives $1 Million Grant To Restore Old Paul Sawyier Library Building
Sep 28th, 09
Kentucky State University will receive a $1 million grant from the National Parks Service to aid in the renovation of the old Paul Sawyier Public Library.
Frankfort, KY - Kentucky State University recently received notification that it will receive a $1 million grant from the National Parks Service to aid in the renovation of the old Paul Sawyier Public Library. The money was part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (federal stimulus money).
"We are anxious to begin working on this project, because we know what an impact it will have on KSU and the Frankfort community," said President Mary Evans Sias. "This money gives us another tool to more quickly establish our presence downtown and show that Kentucky State University is Frankfort's university."
Dr. Anne Butler, director of Regional Stewardship and Planning and of the Center of Excellence for the Study of Kentucky African Americans, wrote the grant proposal.
"We are looking at restoring as many interior finishes as we can so that we have maximum use of the building," Butler said. "What is so unique about this project is that it retains a large portion of its original fabric. The attic is in the same condition as when it was built in 1887. It is exciting that we have a chance to breathe new life into a building so that it will last another 100 years.
"The acquisition of the building enables Kentucky State University to have a downtown campus to provide greater access to those in state government and those in the downtown area," Butler commented further. "It reflects the vigor with which the university is embracing its role in the community and its willingness to use its intellectual and social capital to help improve the quality of life for the city, state and region. By increasing our engagement with the communities within our geographic areas, it positions us to better address the challenges facing all Kentuckians."
The building originally served as the federal courthouse and later as the post office. Prior to KSU's purchase, it served as the city's public library. Upon completion of the renovation, the university plans to use the building to offer downtown classes, to house its Center of Excellence for the Study of Kentucky African Americans archives collection, to host visiting school-aged groups and tourists and to partner with its floating science laboratory. The science lab is a KSU pontoon boat that will cruise the Kentucky River and teach students about the riverfront and water ecology.
"The building is in proximity to the state and local historical museums, the Capitol and Old Capitol buildings," said Jack McNear, director of Capital Planning and Construction. "These are all big venues for tourists, and now we will be part of that loop."
KSU was one of 20 historically black colleges and universities that will receive a portion of the $14.25 million through the National Park Service to preserve historic buildings on their campuses.