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University System Wins Four Out of Five State Stewardship Awards

Atlanta — March 30, 2006

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) presented four of its five State Stewardship Awards – including the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation – to University System of Georgia (USG) officials Wednesday, in recognition of their leadership in promoting and accomplishing historic preservation on their campuses.

“I am delighted the University System is receiving this recognition,” said USG Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. “We take our stewardship of the state’s buildings quite seriously – including upkeep and restoration of those with historic value. These awards from the Department of Natural Resources reflect our values, and I am extremely proud of our employees who earned them.”

“We are gratified to have our historic preservation efforts recognized,” said Linda Daniels, the USG’s vice chancellor for facilities. “The individuals singled out by the DNR are truly deserving of recognition. They have worked hard to ensure that the historic buildings on their campuses continue to serve our core mission of ‘Creating A More Educated Georgia’ while preserving our precious architectural heritage.”

The Historic Preservation Division of the DNR presented the top award in the State Stewardship Awards Program – the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation, which honors achievement of regional or statewide impact – to Dr. Dorothy Leland, president of Georgia College & State University (GC&SU), in Milledgeville.

Under Leland’s leadership, GC&SU developed a pilot “Campus Historic Preservation Plan” (CHPP) that will serve as a model for other USG campuses with historic structures. The CHPP promotes the rehabilitation and adaptation of existing historic buildings and encourages preservation-sensitive new construction that is compatible with the historic buildings on campus. Leland, DNR officials noted, has been a pioneer in partnering with downtown Milledgeville neighborhoods to rehabilitate historic properties and to find innovative funding solutions such as federal and state tax-incentives to accomplish this task. Thanks to Leland’s efforts, the university’s capital-improvement plan includes the stabilization and preservation of four historic buildings.

In addition to Leland’s recognition, the following additional University System administrators received the Governor’s Awards for Historic Preservation Stewardship, presented for significant leadership or achievement in historic preservation stewardship as it relates to state-owned or administered properties or projects:

  • Harry Keim, vice president for business and finance at GC&SU, who was applauded in particular for the much-lauded restoration of the Old Governor’s Mansion, the rehabilitation of Milledgeville’s historic train depot for use as the university’s Health and Lifestyles Center, and the rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of the town’s Old Methodist Church as a student activity center. Keim has a passion and talent for assessing the value of historic resources and is committed to exploring creative opportunities for preserving historically significant architecture and landscaping, DNR officials said.

  • Dr. Michael L. Hanes, president of Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW), in Americus, who was honored for his leadership in ensuring that GSW’s historic buildings are being preserved. So far, the Old President’s Home, Morgan Hall and Stanford Hall have been renovated. Work on the renovation of the campus administration building, Wheatley Hall, is under way. Hanes also led GSW’s nomination of the core historic campus for the National Register of Historic Places. Campus officials were successful in having it on the Georgia Register of Historic Places).

  • Scott Messer, preservation planner in the Office of University Architects at the University of Georgia (UGA), in Athens, who was cited for his “tireless work to promote and encourage sound historic preservation principles across the UGA campus.” Among the most notable projects Messer has managed was the rehabilitation of historic Candler Hall. This “outstanding project fully meets preservation standards,” was completed on schedule and met its budget, DNR officials noted. They called Candler Hall “an excellent example of preservation at its best.”

The awards were presented at a DNR Board Meeting in Atlanta on March 29.

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