Livingstone College has been awarded another $500,000 grant from the National Park Service (NPS) to rehabilitate its Andrew Carnegie Library, for a total of $1.5 million received in the past three years.
The National Park Service announced the first award in August 2018. The second grant award was made last spring, a welcomed announcement during the coronavirus pandemic.
Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) made the recent announcement of the third award of the competitive federal grant that will assist in Phase III of the library’s rehabilitation.
“I’m proud to announce that Livingstone College won these federal dollars and this new funding will help them complete the Carnegie Library rehabilitation project,” Budd said. “This project will help preserve the historic character of this iconic building on Livingstone’s campus.”
The award was made possible through the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) grant program, funded by the Historic Preservation Fund, and administered by the National Park Service, Department of Interior. It is part of $7.7 million in grants to 18 projects in 12 states for the preservation of historic structures on campuses of HBCUs.
The library is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is named after the 19th century industrialist and philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, who funded many libraries with 18 of them being on the campuses of HBCUs. Only two academic libraries were allowed to use the donor’s first name: Livingstone College and the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall in Carnegie. Pa.
Livingstone’s library was funded with $12,500 in 1905 at the behest of Booker T. Washington. The library was designed by Robert Robinson Taylor, the first academically trained African-American architect in the United States. Many of the bricks were fired in the campus kiln; and campus brick mason students laid many of the bricks.
“HBCUs have been an important part of the American education system for more than 180 years, providing high-level academics, opportunities and community for generations of students,” said NPS Deputy Director Shawn Benge. “The National Park Service’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities Grant Program provides assistance to preserve noteworthy structures that honor the past and tell the ongoing story of these historic institutions.”
The first grant award was designated for Phase I, which included the engineering architectural survey, water infiltration work to stabilize the foundation, and roof repairs/replacement.
The second grant, Phase II, was designated for replacing the electrical wiring, lighting fixtures and installing technology portals and charging stations.
According to the project summary, this third grant is for the installation of an HVAC system; replanting foundation plants that were removed to install an infiltration system; installing security doors and a fire escape from the second level to ground; installing and upgrading windows and bathrooms; and painting and plastering wallboard to repair water damage.
“The Livingstone College family is deeply thankful for the continued support of the National Park Service in ensuring that the Andrew Carnegie Library is preserved for future endeavors of the City of Salisbury and the students of Livingstone College,” said Livingstone President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr. “The library provides beauty and style to the college campus and the West End community, where it is located. It presents a distinctiveness that aptly represents the enduring legacy of the first classically educated African-American architect, Robert Robinson Taylor, a native of Wilmington, North Carolina. The library is an enduring tribute to the generosity of the Andrew Carnegie Foundation to the education of African Americans in the early 1900s, as well as now.
“We are indeed proud to be the current stewards of this iconic building, as it is truly a labor of love for the Livingstone family. Finally, we want to express our appreciation to Congressman Ted Budd and his office for his support in our effort to secure these grant funds.”
“This grant is important not only to Livingstone College, but to our broader community because it preserves an important and noteworthy historic structure, still in use today,” said Salisbury Mayor Karen Alexander. “This building holds not only the stories of the past, but those of the present and now can continue to hold the stories yet untold. I thank Congressman Ted Budd for all the support from both he and his staff since the beginning of this project.”