UAPB Receives $2 Million Grant to Continue Renovation of the Hazzard Building

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The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) will receive a $2 million grant from the state for the next phase of renovation of the Hazzard Building on North University Drive. This renovation project aims to preserve the building’s historical significance while modernizing its facilities to better serve the university community.

The Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council (ANCRC) recently approved awarding grants to UAPB and several other state institutions and departments to fund “projects that protect and maintain state-owned natural areas, historic sites, and outdoor recreation.” The grant for UAPB’s Hazzard Building was the largest grant awarded to a higher education institution in Arkansas this year.

The Hazzard Building, located between Lake Saracen and North University Drive, is the historic site of the 1958 Commencement Exercises for Arkansas AM&N College, in which the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the Commencement address.

The upgrades to the interior, scheduled to begin later this year, are the second phase of renovation for the Hazzard Building. The first phase of the renovation completed the exterior of the building in 2023 with a $2.1 million grant from the ANCRC.

“We are grateful for the partnership with the ANCRC that has helped maintain some of our most treasured historic sites in the state of Arkansas and at UAPB in particular,” UAPB Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander said. “The improvement to these facilities is contributing to the transformation of the university’s physical plant consistent with the campus master plan.”

When completed, the Hazzard Building will continue to serve primarily as the home of the U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps as well as a gathering place for university-sponsored events and community activities.

“The generous support from the ANCRC will enable us to enhance our facilities, ensuring they meet the highest standards of safety and efficiency,” said Carla Martin, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration at UAPB. “Renovating the Hazzard Building is key to providing environments that support learning and community engagement. Thank you to the ANCRC for their continued confidence in our vision and commitment to excellence.”

ANCRC grants are funded through the state’s real estate transfer tax. Eligible grant proposals are brought annually to the ANCRC, and the council makes the funding decisions.

Since 2017, UAPB has received $5.8 million in grant funding from the ANCRC. Other grants UAPB received to improve and maintain some of its historic facilities included:

  • A $190,000 grant to renovate and restore the W.E. O’Bryant Bell Tower. The restoration was completed in 2023.
  • A $900,000 grant to renovate the exterior of the L.A. Davis Sr. Student Union and restore the glass façade to the building. Work was completed on the exterior to restore the glass façade to the building in 2021.
  • A $630,000 grant to maintain and restore the interior and exterior of Caldwell Hall, the university’s oldest building, in 2018.