Columbia, SC –April 30, 2020- Benedict College was recently awarded a $500,000 grant from the Historic Preservation fund program administered by the National Park Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The U.S. Congress appropriates funding through the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) and grants are awarded to Historically Black Colleges to support the physical preservation of historic buildings. The HPF grant is directed to support the Benedict College Pratt Hall Preservation Project. Pratt Hall is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
“We are grateful and excited to have an opportunity to restore Pratt Hall, a building purposed over 100 years ago to serve the health needs of the community, while at the same time, educating and empowering African American health professionals in our state,” said Benedict College President and CEO, Dr. Roslyn C. Artis. “The preservation of Pratt Hall underscores the legacy of education and service to the community that continues today to fortify Benedict College.”
Pratt Hall, built in 1902, is the Benedict College’s second oldest building and is one of five structures located in the Benedict College Historic District. The Pratt Training School for Nurses provided a three-year course of study to educate students while also providing services to the community. The small hospital opened with 12 rooms and 20 beds, met the needs of the students and patients from the surrounding African American community. Albeit a small facility, major and minor surgeries were performed at Pratt Hall. In 1927, the facility was renovated and converted into a girl’s dormitory. Since its last renovation in1996, Pratt Hall has housed administrative offices and is currently home to the Division of Business and Finance.
“We are extremely grateful to the National Park Service Historic Preservation Program and the Department of Interior for their continued investment in Benedict College’s Historic District. Pratt Hall previously served as an essential educational training center for nurses and was led by Dr. Matilda A. Evans, the first licensed African American female doctor in the state of South Carolina and the first woman doctor in the city of Columbia. This building is a treasure with a powerful story that must be preserved for future generations.” stated Leandra Burgess, Vice President for Institutional Advancement.
The primary goal of the Pratt Hall Preservation Project is to architecturally preserve the historic resource by eliminating existing damage. The $500,000 grant from the National Park Service will allow Benedict College to repair the roof and gutters; repair and/or replace windows; upgrade mechanical systems; repair the wheelchair lift; repair hard ceilings and tiles; paint exterior and interior walls, trim and ceilings; update interior lighting; repair and/or replace piping as needed; and replace elevator cab panels.
Pictured Above: Pratt Hall, on the campus of Benedict College.
The Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) uses revenue from federal oil leases on the Outer Continental Shelf, to provide assistance for a broad range of preservation projects without expending tax dollars.
About the National Park Service.
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 419 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
About Benedict College
Founded in 1870 by a woman, Bathsheba A. Benedict, Benedict College is a private co-educational liberal arts institution with over 2,100 students enrolled in its 25 baccalaureate degree programs. Defying trends, Benedict College maintains an equal male and female student population. This Midlands HBCU welcomes students from all 46 counties in South Carolina, 30 states across America, and 26 countries around the world.
Benedict offers several high-demand fields of study in STEM, Cyber Security, Mass Communication, Sport Management, Business Administration, Engineering, Computer Science, Biology, and Education. The College also has a diverse faculty of which 80 percent are full-time, and 60 percent hold doctorates or the equivalent.
Over the past ten years, three out of five Benedict College graduates have attended professional or graduate schools. There are over 17,000 proud Benedict Tigers throughout the nation. Benedict College has been a community leader for over 150-years and is a significant contributor to South Carolina and the region. Contributing $130 million and 1,218 jobs in total local and annual economic impact, a Benedict graduate working full-time throughout his or her working life can expect to earn $1.1 million in additional income because of their Benedict College degree.
The College made front-page news in the spring of 2018 when it became the first South Carolina college to lower its tuition by 26 percent. Cutting tuition drew praise from the Commission on Higher Education, South Carolina’s education oversight body. The commissioner noted that the move Benedict College made should be applauded because it offers families affordability and students greater access to higher education.
Benedict College has been highly regarded and exceptionally ranked for its programs by several academic and traditional publications. For example, Benedict College was ranked as one of the top baccalaureate colleges in the nation by Washington Monthly magazine for creating social mobility, and producing cutting-edge scholarship and research. In 2019, Benedict College received the 2019 ACE/ Fidelity Investments Awards for Institutional Transformation and was named the HBCU of the Year by HBCU Digest.
Benedict College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate and masters degrees. Five of the College’s degree programs hold national accreditation: The School of Education, Social Work, Environmental Health Science, Arts and Sciences and the Tyrone Adam Burroughs School of Business and Entrepreneurship.