UCA receives $400,000 grant

The University of Central Arkansas’ Division of Institutional Advancement recently announced a $400,000 grant from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council (ANCRC) for phase two of the renovation and restoration of McCastlain Hall on the campus. This new grant will be used to create a new, more accessible grand hallway between McCastlain’s East Commons and the Baum Gallery.

Dr. Gayle Seymour, associate dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication, and K.C. Poole, interior design instructor, were the co-authors of the grant. Randy Stocks and Melissa Rodgers of Stocks-Mann Architects, PLC, were the architectural consultants.

"We appreciate the support of the ANCRC,” said UCA President Tom Courtway. “With this latest grant we’ve received more than $1.7 million to continue the renovation and restoration of a couple of the original buildings on the UCA campus. These grant funds from the ANCRC, coupled with funds we’ve set aside for the restoration work, will ensure that these historic buildings are used for many years to come."

ANCRC was established by the Arkansas Legislature in 1987 to manage and supervise a grants and trust fund for the acquisition, management and stewardship of state-owned properties acquired or used for ANCRC approved purposes. The grants are funded through state’s real estate transfer tax and are for projects that protect and maintain state-owned natural areas, historic sites and outdoor recreation.

“There were many excellent requests this year and we are honored that the council chose to support the completion of the McCastlain project,” said Shelley Mehl, vice president for the Division of Institutional Advancement.

Built in 1939 as the first stand-alone cafeteria on campus, McCastlain Hall is now one of eight buildings comprising UCA’s Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. ANCRC previously funded both a planning grant in 2013 and an $800,000 renovation grant in 2014 for the restoration and renovation of McCastlain’s East Commons and Fireplace Room.

Securing funding to complete both phases of the McCastlain renovation is timely in that UCA and the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre were selected as hosts for the state of Arkansas for the First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare. The Folger Shakespeare Library, in partnership with Cincinnati Museum Center and the American Library Association, is touring a First Folio of Shakespeare to all 50 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico in 2016.