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Mary Morton Parsons Foundation Challenge Grant Supports Tucker Hall Renovation

The Mary Morton Parsons Foundation of Richmond has approved a $350,000 challenge grant to Washington and Lee University — to be matched two for one — toward the $13.5 million renovation and restoration of Tucker Hall, part of the National Historic Landmark front campus in Lexington.

The grant and match, totaling more than $1 million, will help the University complete the renewal of the Colonnade, the group of five red-brick, white-columned buildings dating partly to the early 19th century.

Tucker Hall is the last of those primarily academic buildings to be restored and renovated. Former site of the University’s School of Law, it now houses computer and multimedia services and the departments of Romance Languages and German and Russian. After the work is complete, Romance Languages will be joined by Classics and Religion. German and Russian will move to the Center for Global Learning, now under construction and incorporating duPont Hall.

“Like the other buildings that compose the Colonnade, Tucker Hall has long needed a substantial but sensitive overhaul,” said George Graves, W&L’s associate director of corporate and foundation relations, “to make repairs and physical improvements, increase safety and accessibility, increase energy conservation, correct unwise or outmoded alterations and enable students and faculty to use technology fully for effective teaching and learning.” The building will contain smart classrooms and seminar rooms.

Overall, the Colonnade project consists of historic preservation of exteriors — trademark W&L red-painted brick, white columns, metal roofs, vintage windows and doors, well-trod stone steps, distinctive walk with the so-called Lexington bricks featuring circles and stars — and rehabilitation of interiors that maintains authenticity and upgrades all infrastructure, including plumbing, heating and cooling.

Built in 1935 to replace a building that burned, Tucker Hall is the newest building of the Colonnade, on the north end. In addition to faculty offices and other facilities, the four-story building will have two classrooms, a seminar room and a student study space. Work is scheduled to begin during summer 2016 and be completed within 18 months.

Tucker Hall is named for Henry St. George Tucker, a former acting president and instructor of law at W&L who was president of the American Bar Association and served nearly two decades in Congress. He earned the University’s affection not only for his service and accomplishments but also for his efforts to secure the institution’s future.