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Salve Regina University

Campus Heritage Plan

Salve Regina University was a recipient in the first round of Getty Campus Heritage Grants established to assist American colleges and universities in the management and preservation of their historic buildings and landscapes.  MCWB aided the University in the preparation of their application and assembled a team skilled in the analysis and evaluation of architectural and landscape collections. 

The MCWB team completed the preservation master plan which reviewed the SRU campus holistically, taking into consideration the university’s programmatic requirements and its plans for growth and the patterns of use, both historic and present, of the buildings and grounds.  Each of the twenty properties were evaluated focusing on existing physical conditions and identifying significant designed landscape and architectural features in order to make recommendations for guiding restoration, repair and future use.  Analysis of historical data in the form of architectural drawings, photographs and written accounts provided background to the materials and styles used in construction and insights into the proper methods for repair.  The task also included the assignment of “significance ratings” for selected historic buildings on the SRU campus.  In addition, the team worked in concert with students enrolled in the cultural and historic preservation curriculum satisfying the educational component required by the Getty Foundation.

In-depth surveys of two buildings: McAuley Hall (the main house of the Vinland estate) and Wetmore Hall (carriage house to Chateau-sur-Mer), the first two projects to be undertaken, were chosen to serve as models for implementation of the recommendations put forth in the study.  The two buildings had vastly different original uses, but each was constructed with high quality materials and craftsmanship which have borne the ravages of time. Vinland, designed by Peabody & Stearns in 1883 for Catherine Lorillard Wolfe, is built of delicately carved East Longmeadow brownstone.  Water and the effects of the salt air have caused the stone to deteriorate severely.   The focus of the Vinland study was the stabilization and repair of the exterior stonework.   The interiors and landscape were studied as well and archival research resulted in the discovery of hundreds of drawings from Peabody & Stearns and detailed drawings of the original plantings and services brought to the building.  Ultimately, the building exterior will be restored to its original condition and its interiors and landscapes preserved and returned, where possible, to their former beauty.  Wetmore Hall has seen hard use over the years.  Much of its 19th century Carriage House fabric still exists in the form of tiles, brickwork, cast iron equine fittings, and the original ventilation system.  The MCWB team developed a schematic plan for the reuse of the building into much needed classroom and office spaces and the preservation of its many significant historical features. This project progressed into construction and has been fully renovated in accordance with recommendations.

With the preservation master plan in place, future repair, restoration and reuse will be implemented in a coordinated and logical sequence for the benefit of the overall campus plan.

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