West Virginia University’s Jackson’s Mill has long been called a “special place” to 4-H’ers and friends. On Thursday, July 19, the Mill’s West Virginia Building will be rededicated with $500,000 in updates to help it remain a pillar of WVU’s historic campus in Lewis County.
A rededication ceremony will take place at the building on Thursday at 11 a.m. during Alpha II State 4-H Camp. The public is invited to attend.
Designed as a replica of the 1933 World’s Fair building which housed West Virginia’s exhibit, the building served as a place for gatherings, education and special occasions for more than 77 years.
Without the renovations, the building’s floor-to-ceiling woodwork and historic murals were at risk, said David Smith, director of operations for WVU Jackson’s Mill. The artwork is an example of unique public art commissioned by the Works Progress Administration during the 1930s and the Great Depression.
“Wood rot was evident in numerous locations,” Smith said. “The wood siding, column enclosures, fascia, and trim were removed, scraped, painted and replaced.”
The building has received improvements to its infrastructure. New lighting, fire and smoke detector and suppression systems were installed, but it’s the color that might come as the biggest surprise to those who have visited the building throughout the years.
The construction crew uncovered a piece of siding that had been protected from the elements over the years so the color was matched and the building color changed from brown to its original blue-gray.
Historic photos were scrutinized and landscaping crews were able to reconstruct the original landscaping, using West Virginia native plants, including rhododendron and flowering dogwood.
“We wanted to preserve the building and its history, but at the same time we have to move forward and continue updating to meet the needs of the thousands of people who pass through our facility each year,” said David Snively, WVU Extension associate director of operations.
The overall renovations totaled $500,000, with state funds from WVU Extension Service and the WVU Provost Office. Corporate donations from Dominion and Chesapeake were also made, but Snively said it’s the $75,000 in donations from people that show how important this building is to 4-H’ers and friends.
“We raised more than $75,000 from people all over the world who have ties to the building, some donated as little as $5, but those dollars add up and helped to save the structure,” Snively said.
Snively, a former 4-H’er, understands first-hand the significance of the West Virginia Building to campers from across the state.
“To me it’s a place where you go for something special, like the awards ceremonies at the end of camp,” he said. “We’re not just preserving a building; we’re preserving something sacred to those who love Jackson’s Mill.”
To learn more about the West Virginia Building renovations, or to contribute, contact the WVU Extension Office of Development at 304-293-5691, or visit development.ext.wvu.edu.
CONTACT: Cassie Waugh
Cassie.firstname.lastname@example.org; office: 304-293-8735; cell: 304-376-1829