Halls of History

Preservation professor traces UMW’s story through its bricks and columns

The UMW Department of Historic Preservation has a national reputation for scholarship about historic buildings. Now it’s turning that scholarly eye on its own backyard. The UMW campus is a trove of 20th-century architecture and history, but preserving that character can clash with 21st-century needs − as students, faculty, and administrators learned from a 2010 controversy over a plan to put a new student center on the site of Seacobeck Hall. Students and alumni argued to save Seacobeck, which they saw as one of the most significant buildings on campus. Ultimately, Chandler was chosen as the site because renovations over the years had left little of its original design intact. The administration’s thoughtful response to the “save Seaco” effort led to a request that the historic preservation department produce a comprehensive preservation plan. The task fell to the new guy, but he wasn’t being picked on. Michael Spencer ’03, an assistant professor of historic … [Read more...]