Caddo Center renovation project nears completion – SWARK Today

Photos of the Caddo with roses in the foreground

August 23, 2022

The renovation of the Caddo Center at Henderson State University is nearing completion. The former dining hall is being transformed into a consolidated center for student services.

The university plans for the admissions office to move into its designated area later this year, with the financial aid and housing offices moving next year.

A series of grants from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council (ANCRC) funded the project, which began in 2016 with exterior repairs to the building, including replacing the roof.

“The Caddo Center will serve as the gateway and welcome center to Henderson State. We are thrilled that admissions is moving this fall,” said Bernadette Hinkle, Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration at Henderson. “Once the next phase of the building is complete by summer/fall 2023, the Caddo Center will act as a ‘one stop shop’ for students.”

The Caddo Center, which was built in 1948-49, was vacated in 2013 when the new Henderson Food Center opened.

After considering possible uses for the empty building, Henderson submitted his first grant proposal and received $747,000 for exterior repairs. Five additional grant proposals were submitted, representing over $5.5 million in total grants.

“We greatly appreciate the funding from the ANCRC grant and look forward to serving all of our students and prospective students in the newly renovated Caddo Center,” Hinkle said.

Ken Amburgy of SCM Architects provided a timeline for the grants.

  • Henderson applied for the first ANCRC grant in 2015, receiving $747,000 for 2016.
  • Grant application in 2017, receipt of $950,000 for the removal/demolition of materials and equipment.
  • Grant application in 2018, received $1.1 million for entrance and lobby, exhibit hall and gallery renovations, as well as mechanical, electrical, plumbing and building repairs. extinguishing fire.
  • 2019 grant application, received $300,000 to complete the exhibit hall and gallery, and work on the interpretation room and public restrooms.
  • Applied for a 2022 grant, receiving $1,190,861 to complete the east area for admissions, as well as an exit gantry.
  • Applied for a 2023 grant, receiving $1.4 million to complete the South Zone for financial aid and housing, and the West Zone for other student support services. Site work for sidewalks is also included.

“The sixth grant was not fully funded,” Amburgy said. “This scope of work will be reduced and we are currently designing the ‘finishing’ for financial aid and housing.”

Amburgy said a seventh grant, or alternative funding, may be needed to complete the project.

So far, ANCRC has awarded $5,687,861 for the project. No university funds were used.

“Keep in mind that when you have to scale a project, it’s going to cost more than when a project is fully funded and completed, start to finish,” Amburgy said.

Three contractors provided the work for the various stages of the project, including Kinco Constructors (Phase 1), CBM Construction (Phases 2, 3 and 4) and Bell Construction (Phase 5).

A tendering process will determine the contractor for the next phase, Amburgy said.

The Caddo Center currently houses the Joint Educational Consortium’s Hodges Collection of Native American Artifacts in the Lobby Gallery. The collection was moved there in 2019 after the completion of phase four.

The Arkansas Archeological Survey Research Station at Henderson State received two small grants to develop interpretation of the Caddo Center collection.

The Caddo Center has 17,500 square feet of space on its upper level, while the lower level is fully occupied with mechanical, electrical, and plumbing infrastructure, and secure storage for Native American artifacts.

When it was completed in 1949, the Caddo Center, originally called Caddo Commons, was considered one of the most modern cafeterias in Arkansas. The building and equipment cost about $175,000, according to Henderson State University: Education Since 1890 by Bennie Gene Bledsoe.


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