Arkansas Tech University has received a $600,000 grant from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council (ANCRC) to help fund a renovation of Williamson Hall on its Russellville campus. Combined with an initial $600,000 grant awarded to ATU in 2016, the ANCRC has now committed $1.2 million to the forthcoming renovation project.
“We are appreciative of our partners at the ANCRC for their continued support of Arkansas Tech,” said Mike Hutchison, vice president for advancement at ATU. “Renovating facilities like Williamson Hall allows us to strike an appropriate balance between honoring our storied past and providing for the educational needs of our students today and in the future. Support from like-minded organizations such as the ANCRC is integral in our ability to achieve that objective.”
Opened in March 1940, Williamson Hall was constructed by the National Youth Administration to serve as its state headquarters. Once the facility was no longer needed by the NYA, it reverted to the possession of Arkansas Tech. Alumni of the pre-Witherspoon Hall era remember Williamson Hall as the home of the Arkansas Tech music program. The structure is named for Marvin Williamson, who served as the initial director of bands at the institution from 1913-50. Today, Williamson Hall is home to the ATU Department of Parks, Recreation and Hospitality Administration.
Funds from ANCRC grants have previously helped Arkansas Tech renovate Browning Hall, Caraway Hall, Hughes Hall and Wilson Hall. Like Williamson Hall, all four structures of those are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Since May 2003, the ANCRC has awarded Arkansas Tech 11 grants totaling $5.75 million for preservation and renovation projects.
According to its Web site, the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council was established by the Arkansas Legislature in 1987 by Arkansas Act 729 (now codified as Arkansas Code Annotated 15-12-101 through 15-12-103). The act created the ANCRC 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. The ANCRC consists of eleven voting members. Grants from this fund are for projects that protect and maintain state-owned natural areas, historic sites and outdoor recreation.