DAVIDSON– The restoration and repurposing of a former cotton mill has earned recognition from the Preservation North Carolina organization.

At its annual spring conference, Preservation North Carolina awarded Davidson College’s Hurt Hub the Gertrude S. Carraway Award of Merit. The award is given to organizations that have demonstrated a genuine commitment to historic preservation through extraordinary projects.

In the presentation, the organization acknowledged that the college, established in 1837, has been a thoughtful steward of historic resources, including Elm and Oak Row and Philanthropic Halls (constructed in 1836 and 1850, respectively). As the campus has grown, the college has maintained its historic fabric while adding sensitively designed new structures.

In 2014, the college elected to purchase and renovate the former dye house of the De

lburg Cotton Mill, which opened in 1908 during the textile boom in North Carolina’s Piedmont. The project was made possible by a gift from Davidson alumnus and venture capitalist Jay Hurt.

Though the dye house, on Delburg Street just west of the main campus, had been altered a number of times over the years as technologies changed, a 23,000-square-foot single-story building remained vacant and in disrepair for a number of years before the college’s involvement.

The college hired Charlotte- based ADW Architects to redesign the building as a state-of-the-art LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building, while respecting its historic past.

The brick exterior was maintained with damaged areas repaired and repainted. New windows and full-height glass doors were installed to allow daylight into interior spaces. Deteriorated metal siding on the side elevation was replaced with a glass curtain wall.

In its reincarnation as the Hurt Hub @ Davidson, the old dye house is a facility for students and innovative entrepreneurial startups. Blending business, academic and startup communities, the building includes innovation lab space, a data analytics workshop and virtual reality lab, collaboration space, social commons and private open space designated for regional startups.

In a video about the award-winning project, Preservation North Carolina emphasized that “the Hurt Hub takes a remnant from a critical 20th century industry and puts it to use for 21st century innovation.”

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