category: Campus News

Replacement Project will Provide New Light on Old Issue

University supporters have the opportunity to bring new life to Warren Art Building by contributing gifts for new windows for the building.

University supporters have the opportunity to bring new life to Warren Art Building by contributing gifts for new windows for the building.

Most 75-year-olds have something they would like to replace – knees, corneas, hips, etc. – some part that has just not been able to keep up with the rest of their bodies. Such is the case with Warren, a 74-and-counting C-N fixture that is reveling in a second childhood.

But Warren (Art Building) should need work, as it has served as home to several departments across three academic disciplines since 1939. The need for some work is the focus of a new initiative to replace windows in Warren.

Given its provenance and purpose, the edifice features massive windows that are 40 inches wide by 80 inches high, or just over 22 square feet in area. The amount of light was cost effective and good for both classroom teaching and the laboratory work it supported during its first 20 years when it housed the Science Department.

On the cusp of adulthood in the summer of ’59, the building was named to honor J.T. Warren, the president who oversaw C-N’s SACS accreditation process, marshaled a capital campaign and led the effort to construct the science facility in dark days of the Great Depression. He died suddenly in 1947, just as the post-war boom was beginning.

By 1970, plans were in the works for what is Dougherty Science Center and what would become of Warren next. It entered its early thirties with a career change and a new name, both of which it has kept for 41 years. According to those who know it best and use it most, Warren Art has “good bones” and “plenty of years left.”

“It has the issues of most buildings its age, but what it needs most, really needs, are windows,” assessed Professor David Underwood, who chairs the Art Department. “It’s a solid structure that was built to foster scientific education and it was recycled into a four-floor, 16,000 square foot home that nurtures drawing, painting, photography and graphic design. It’s a testament to good stewardship, as is this effort to switch the windows with modern, energy efficient replacements.”

While the windows provide light that is essential to drawing and other forms of art making, their pre-World War II wooden frames and single panes are what those in real estate call “functionally obsolescent.” Even with new “fenestration,” as Professor Julie Rabun refers to the window replacement project, Warren will retain its rambunctious personality as the quintessential facility for the study of art.

“Oh, I think it is an absolutely perfect environment for the Art Department,” said Rabun, graphic design professor who is also trained as an architect. “It suits all of our eccentricities, those of both faculty and students, because we are not bothering other departments or disciplines. Even the fact that, unlike a new building, we don’t have to be cautious… You can drop paint or bump around a bit, which is good, because artists are messy.”

To accomplish the project as soon as possible, supporters who contribute $350 can “purchase” a window and have the option of adding their name, as well as that of a loved one or favorite professor, to a plaque that will be attached to the new frame. Those who make $350 gifts by December 31 will be able to choose a room for their window(s) on a first come, first served basis.

Classmates may choose to work together to provide a window, and anyone who gives $50 or more will receive a large commemorative poster celebrating the institution’s transition to “Carson-Newman University.” The 24” x 36” print represents the center panel of an original artwork that is displayed in Stokley Memorial Cafeteria. Julie L. Rabun, Susan O’Dell Underwood, and William C. Houston, the three primary artists who worked together to produce the original work, will sign each poster.

Donations may be made online at Those interested in more information should contact Chris Cates at 865-471-3245 or Checks may be directed to Warren Windows Project, Carson-Newman Advancement, C-N Box 72032, Jefferson City, TN, 37760.

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