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Newly Renovated

Posted by: Jennifer Stevens | October 19, 2012 | No Comment |

Renovations at 72 and 74 George Street are complete.

72 George

In August 2011, renovation of the historic three-and-a-half story Greek Revival style Charleston house at 72 George Street began. The home was originally built by John King in 1837. According to Jonathan Poston, author of Buildings of Charleston, “The College was responsible for shifting the house a full 90 degrees to make room for the Physicians Memorial Auditorium in 1972. The move was made after the building was braced with steel crossbeams and adjusted every few feet to prevent cracking.”

The building received small additions between 1888 and 1902. They were removed prior to the building’s renovation in 1972. Removal of interior walls during the current renovation revealed crudely constructed brick walls. It is assumed that the walls were hastily rebuilt after the earthquake of 1886 that damaged other structures at the College. The new exterior stucco color was selected based on some small areas where the original stucco color was visible prior to starting the current renovation.

The current renovation was designed by AJ Architects and, the general contractor was Mashburn Construction. The building was outfitted with new plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems, refinished hardwood floors, lead/asbestos abatement, restored and operational winders, new exterior operational shutters, an ADA accessible exterior ramp and first floor bathroom, a conference/media room on the first floor, and offices throughout the remainder of the building.

74 George

The three story brick single house at 74 George Street was most likely built in the second quarter of the 19th century, similar to 72 George Street.  It first appears on the 1888 Sanborn map that shows a two story building attached to the rear of the building, most likely serving as a kitchen, carriage house, slave quarters, or a combination of the three.  In 1972, 74 George Street was moved 23 feet and had its rear additions demolished to make room for the construction of Physicians Auditorium and the Rita Hollings Science Center.

The renovation work included all new HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems; new fire alarm and sprinkler system; addition of a handicap ramp system and accessible bathroom on the first floor; repairs to all windows including re-opening original window openings on the north wall; new window shutters and hardware; restoration of French doors on the piazza; restoration of the original heart pine floors; and landscaping around the building.

The challenge with the renovations of both buildings was trying to incorporate modern systems, such as plumbing, HVAC, and fire sprinklers, into historic buildings. These buildings were built almost 175 years ago so a great deal of creativity was needed in regards to safely placing new conduit, plumbing, and other pipes into the walls. Additionally, these buildings were constructed in a time when buildings codes did not exist, so every attempt was made to bring the buildings up to modern safety standards while maintaining the historic character of the buildings. One example of this is the new sprinkler system which was designed to provide an additional level of safety to the occupants while not being visually obtrusive.

English faculty now occupy both buildings.

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