Until a few years ago, it wasn’t easy to walk from the Brickyard to the Court of North Carolina. A straight path would take you between Ricks and Withers halls, and then, something stood in the way: The 1911 Building.
“It was the building you had to walk around,” says Ed Funkhouser, assistant professor of communication and a former facilities coordinator for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
The 1911 Building was originally a dorm (named for the Class of 1911, which abolished hazing), and after it was put to use for classrooms and offices it was still a hodgepodge of small rooms and hallways, says Funkhouser, who once had an office in the building. In the 1990s, some walls were knocked down to make it easier to navigate.
But it wasn’t until 2008 that a major renovation cleared the sight lines between the front door at the top of the hill on the Court of North Carolina and the back door, which opens onto a tiny side street.
Originally, Funkhouser says, university officials considered building a tunnel through the middle of the building, much like the one that was made a part of David Clark Labs when a new addition was added. But in the end, the idea of a clear front and back door with easy access won out.
Now the building’s front door opens into a spacious lobby, and the back door is clearly in view. The 2008 renovation also replaced clanking radiators and window air conditioners with central heating and cooling. Some columns within the building could not be moved, so there are no large lecture halls, but classrooms and offices were enlarged.
The renovation was complemented by new landscaping in the Court of North Carolina, which had already undergone changes in 1996 when Hurricane Fran uprooted dozens of stately trees, including two huge willow oaks behind Winston Hall. “Prior to Fran, we had more trees and less lawn,” says Funkhouser.
Today, sloping brick walkways (that are also handicapped-accessible) now lead to the terrace at the top of the hill in front of the 1911 Building. And from the top of the hill, it’s a straight shot to the Brickyard.
— Sylvia Adcock ’81