Terrell Hall Receives State-Wide Preservation Award


Jaylon Brooks

The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation has given Terrell Hall the Excellence in Rehabilitation award at the 44thannual Preservation Awards ceremony, held on Oct. 11 in Macon.


The purpose of the award is to recognize the best attempts at preserving historic buildings in Georgia.


Terrell Hall was first constructed in 1908, as a women’s dormitory, to be a part of the campus of the then-named Georgia State College for Women.


Originally it was dubbed Lamar Hall after Richard Lamar, Baldwin County state commissioner and a founding member of the Board of Directors.


Lamar famously didn’t approve of Marvin Parks, who was college president at the time, and Parks’ allies on the board eventually had the name of the dorm changed to Terrell Hall in 1913. This was done in memory of Joseph Terrell, who was governor of Georgia until 1907.


Terrell largely remained a residence hall until the 1980s when the history department moved in, and the building began to be used academically.



Over time, some of the mass communication and foreign language departments would end up calling the building home. By 2006, Terrell was no longer being used as a dorm, and was completely dedicated to office space.

Renovations on Terrell officially began in January of 2017, with the ribbon-cutting event taking place in February of 2020.


Prior to the renovations, while most of the programs residing in Terrell Hall were from the Mass Communication department, many of their offices, classrooms, and organizations were scattered across campus.


“Students that were doing television production would have to go to the fourth floor of Atkinson, which we were sharing with the university communications department,” said Angela Criscoe, interim executive director in the school of continuing and professional studies.


It was because of this that former President Dorman and Provost Brown made the decision to dedicate the renovated Terrell Hall to the mass communications department.


During construction, those in the department were moved into Beeson Hall, though various professors were allowed to work with the architects to give input on specific changes they wanted to make.


“I told our department chair at the time that I knew a little about construction and would love to play a role in what the building would look like,” said Criscoe.


Criscoe acted as an associate professor in the mass communications department until this past summer and was privy to many of the renovations made to Terrell Hall.


After the renovations, Terrell Hall contained a variety of cutting-edge technology for the use of students, totaling $13.3 million.


Another key focus of the renovations was restoring some of the building’s more historic aspects.


This would include wider hallways, stripping off almost 30 coats of paint to restore the old wood flooring, higher ceilings and uncovering windows.


“Terrell Hall’s architecture has remained largely unchanged, and it’s the best preserved of the early campus buildings,” said Robert Wilson III, Professor Emeritus of history and university historian.

During the 1970s, many of these older features were obscured as part of a movement made to modernize the building.


Many much-needed modern features were added to the building, such as a central air-conditioning system and an elevator.


“There was a boiler in the basement that we used for heat, and once they turned that on, they didn’t turn it off again until the spring,” said Amanda Respess, senior lecturer in the mass communication department. “And you know how Georgia goes up and down with our temperatures.”


A great deal of work was put into Terrell Hall not just to ensure that it could cater to each and every need of mass communication students, but to also give them a glimpse into where it all started.


“In the department of communications, we teach our students how to communicate properly to the public and placing us in a forward-facing building on front campus is a message to the community that this is who we are,” said Criscoe.