Tift, Lewis & Herring Halls at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College
The renovation and adaptive reuse of Tift, Lewis and Herring Halls has revived life into the historic front of campus at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC). This rehabilitation project has restored the campus’ Sweetheart Circle, its grand front lawn and its three original buildings to their original grandeur while conveying a theme of simple elegance.
ABAC is one of the original 12 Georgia A&M Schools c. 1908 designed by famed Atlanta architect Haralson Bleckley. The sites typically consisted of three buildings: a central classroom building (like Tift Hall), a boys’ dormitory (like Herring Hall) and a girls’ dormitory (like Lewis Hall), all arranged on a bow-shaped drive known as a “sweetheart” circle. Only a handful of the schools, including ABAC, can claim to still feature the three original A&M buildings built by local workers.
Before commencing design work, the buildings were derelict but had great potential. They were practical and not designed to be ornate and formal. The design took the ceilings back to their original 14’ height. Pine floors were exposed and several historic features were replaced, including Tift Hall’s rooftop flagpole and massive columns, two of which had been removed due to decay. The buildings were modernized to be functional and sustainable and life cycle costs are projected to be 22 percent lower.
Now used as a visitor and history education center, senior administrative offices, student services and the college of business, Tift, Lewis and Herring Halls have once again become a functioning part of the campus and the community, breathing new life into ABAC’s historic front door. The two-story buildings underwent full renovation, incorporating modern amenities to serve the staff and student body. The project took place in four phases: the renovation of Tift Hall as phase one, Lewis and Herring Halls as phases two and three, and the Historic Mall as phase four. Tift Hall, which houses the President’s Office, experienced a full renovation including exterior and interior upgrades as well as utility infrastructure upgrades. Lewis and Herring Halls underwent complete renovation of the mechanical, electrical and plumbing system as well as new finishings throughout. A critical part of the project was the extensive renovation of the historic mall, which created assembly and function spaces, and now serves to enhance the public's first impression of the campus.
The project recently was recognized by the University System of Georgia with an Award of Excellence for Revitalization of the Sweetheart Circle. It was cited as having “redefined the spirit of place” at the heart of the campus.
Three Original Campus Buildings
35,000+ Gross SF
Front of Campus Redesign
LEED® Silver Certified
Full Architectural Services
Historic Consulting & Research
Interior Design, FF&E and Move-in Services
2013 Georgia Board of Regents Award of Excellence
2014 AIA Savannah Merit Award
2014 Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation Award