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Carson-Newman’s oldest building receives upgrade

(Aug. 18, 2017) – Carson-Newman University’s oldest building received an upgrade over the summer. The front porch of Sarah Swann Residence Hall was renovated and replaced.

Colonel A. R. Swann built Swann Hall in 1904 in memory of his mother. The building was renovated in 1965 and again in 2002.

According to Ondes Webster, Carson-Newman’s director of physical plant and construction manager, the elevated porch located on the second floor of the structure has been in need of repair.

Webster said, “As with any older structure, eventually things need to be repaired. Remember, Swann Hall is over 110 years old. We knew the porch was having some issues that would need to be addressed, so we inspected it to figure out exactly what needed to be done.”

After a careful inspection, structural supports were put in place in the Spring of 2016 in order to reinforce the porch until a plan could be made to make repairs.

Renovation of the porch began as soon as students left for the summer in May of this year. Once renovation of the porch began, Webster discovered that the project was going to involve a few more challenges than anticipated.

“Of course, in order to determine all that needed to be done, we had to remove the outside coverings to see what was underneath and what exactly needed to be repaired. One of the significant problems we discovered was that the roof beam needed to be replaced,” Webster said. “When it was originally constructed, that beam section didn’t have ventilation. So 100 years of heat and cold and heat and cold and humidity caused the beam to degrade over time.”

In addition to replacing the beams and floor, the foundation under the six existing columns was reinforced by placing 27-foot long steel supports with a new concrete cap under the columns.

Although a few minor changes were made, Webster said the goal was to make the front of Swann Hall look like it did when it was originally constructed.

Finishing touches are currently being made with the project scheduled for completion prior to the return of students to campus the end of August.

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