ANCRC grants to fund renovations at Russell Fine Arts, Mooney Hall, and Smith Hall

Russell Fine Arts Center and Smith Hall.

Three prominent buildings on the Henderson State University campus will soon undergo renovations thanks to grants totalling $1.9 million from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council (ANCRC).

Russell Fine Arts, Smith Hall, and Mooney Hall are all included in Henderson’s historic district, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places last fall.

Russell Fine Arts (RFA) opened in 1964 and is the home to Henderson’s music department and digital media production’s podcast studio.

Harwood Recital Hall, the music department’s primary performance venue, will undergo improvements, along with Evanson Band Hall and the choir room. New flooring will be installed throughout RFA, along with fresh paint.

Grant funds for Smith Hall will cover costs to replace and repair mechanical and electrical elements, including the cooling tower. Smith Hall has served Henderson as a primary residence hall since its completion in 1965.

Mooney Hall, which houses the College of Business, Henderson Police Department, and Student Health and Wellness, will receive a new roof and exterior repairs, including the cleaning and repair of the building’s facade.

Mooney opened in 1933 as a student housing facility. Much of the repair work is related to the intricate and architecturally distinctive wood elements and clay tile roofing.

“Our partnership with ANCRC has produced significant and rewarding results for the Henderson campus. What they have done for us has been truly transformational,” said Henderson Chancellor Dr. Trey Berry. “Thanks to the ANCRC, we are preserving historic structures on the campus that will benefit our students for years to come.”

The beginning design phase of the projects has begun, according to Sandra Mabry, director of operations, facilities, and construction. Construction will begin once the designs and budgets are approved. A preliminary completion date has been set for June 30, 2025.

Renovations to Henderson’s Caddo Center were completed earlier this year through a series of ANCRC grants. The historic structure had served as the university’s dining hall since 1949 before it was vacated in 2013 when the new Malachi Smith Dining Hall opened. The Caddo Center has been transformed into a consolidated center for student services, including the Office of Admissions.

The Caddo Center also houses the Joint Educational Consortium’s Hodges Collection of Native American Artifacts in the lobby gallery area.

ANCRC grants also funded renovations to the Barkman House where the offices of Alumni, Development, Marketing and Communications, and Henderson Foundation are located. The house was constructed around 1860 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.