$3 Million Gift Will Trigger Restoration of Historic
Flint and Anderson Halls
Taken shortly after the building's completion, this photo illustrates
the dramatic effect Flint Hall had on the (then sparse) UF campus.
After 20 years of vacancy and decay, Flint Hall (1910) will finally get the renovations needed to restore its grandeur and integrity. Kenneth Keene (Math '47) and his wife, Janet, recently made the University a $3 million gift to initiate the project. With the addition of state matching and added capital improvement funds, the Keenes' generosity will actually yield over $18 million, enabling the concurrent renovation of Anderson Hall (1913), Flint's eastern counterpart. "The Keenes wanted their gift to have a significant impact on both the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) and the University of Florida as a whole," explains CLAS Associate Dean Chuck Frazier. "By writing Anderson into the proposal, we were able to generate additional state funds, dramatically increasing the potential benefits."
Flint and Anderson, two of the
13 original campus buildings designed by architect William Edwards, were
intended to serve as "gateposts" to the university, and for many years--with
their striped awnings and ivy-covered walls--they indeed formed a stately
entrance to campus. Both historic UF buildings were slated for demolition
in the late 1970s, but a local group of concerned preservationists helped
facilitate the buildings' entry into the national registry of historic
places, saving them from destruction.
The historic character of Flint Hall was substantially damaged with a late 1950s renovation designed to maximize square footage. The north, south and west entrances were bricked up, and the two-story stairwells were converted to one-story units for additional classroom and office space. The original Gothic vaulted ceiling and arched entryway were destroyed, and composite columns, carved woodwork, ornamental plasterwork and the formal entry hall and stairs were all removed. Terra cotta ornamentation on the exterior surrounding the north entrance was also done away with.
After continued decay, Flint Hall was condemned in 1978 by the State Fire
Marshall, who prohibited its use as an instructional facility until numerous
code violations had been corrected. The building has remained vacant
since then, although various departments have used portions of the building
Because Anderson and Flint are part of the historic northeast quadrant of campus (where the majority of libraries, teaching departments and classrooms are still located), UF Provost Betty Capaldi put a priority on securing funding for them. "They will be wonderful classroom/office buildings in a location where we really need them," she says.
The dual renovation of Anderson and Keene-Flint Halls addresses serious CLAS problems (decaying facilities and the need for additional teaching space) while also alleviating a major UF pressure: increasing enrollment and the resulting shortage of classroom and instructional support facilities. Since CLAS is a central part of UF's instructional program, the Keenes' gift will indeed have the major significance they'd hoped for.
New and improved "Keene-Flint"
and Anderson Halls are scheduled for completion in the year 2000.
The project's benefactors, who have already endowed a scholarship fund
and donated money for a faculty center in Dauer Hall, are modest about
their contributions. "Our principal motivation," says Ken Keene, "is to
help provide proper educational opportunities for future UF students."
Alumni CLAS notes is published twice a year by the University of Florida College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for its alumni and friends. Please send all correspondence to the Editor, 2014 Turlington Hall, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, call 352/392-1516 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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