New Hanover County Receives Historic Wilmington Foundation Awards

Last week, New Hanover County and the Board of Commissioners received two awards for the county’s contributions to making downtown better. The awards went to our 320 Chestnut building renovation and the new CFCC Humanities and Fine Arts Center. If you haven’t been to either of these public facilities, I encourage you to find the time. They are a testament to historic preservation with modern utility, and the idea of creating critical mass.

Here is more information about the awards from a recent county news release:

Two New Hanover County buildings were honored at the 2016 Historic Wilmington Foundation’s Preservation Awards ceremony on Thursday, May 19. The county taxpayer-funded Cape Fear Community College Humanities & Fine Arts Wilson Center and the county’s renovated 320 Chestnut Building were both recognized at the ceremony. Board of County Commissioners Vice Chairman Jonathan Barfield and Commissioner Rob Zapple were on hand to accept the awards.

“The Wilson Center is a welcome addition to the cultural and architectural feel of downtown Wilmington,” said New Hanover County Commissioner Rob Zapple. “And the county’s 320 Chestnut building is an amazing example of the commissioners’ vision to restore a historic building from the inside out. It had leaking pipes and drafty windows, and now it is a modern, energy-efficient building that blends seamlessly into downtown.”

Located at the northern entrance to historic downtown, the Wilson Center opened in October 2015 and is a bustling fine arts center with concerts, theatre productions, and comedy tours. Also included in the 159,000 square-foot facility are state-of-the-art learning spaces for the region’s students. This newly-constructed building was given the Development Award by Wilmington Downtown, Inc. (WDI) for its compatibility with and enrichment of the downtown environment. According to WDI, this award is designed to recognize an extraordinary project that was completed in downtown during the previous year.

New Hanover County’s building at 320 Chestnut Street was awarded with the foundation’s Preservation Award. Renovated from an old 1950’s administrative building, it now serves as an energy-efficient, well-designed example of preservation. Instead of tearing the building down and starting over, the Board of Commissioners voted to restore it. The building now features the county’s first green roof, energy-efficient light sensors, windows, doors, insulation and HVAC system. Completed in October 2015 on time and under budget, the building is now home to the county’s Community Justice Services, Guardian ad Litem, public defender’s office, and Register of Deeds.

“My fellow commissioners and I are honored that these two buildings – both new and restored – are being recognized for their significance in our historic community,” Vice Chairman Barfield said.

A link to photographs from the event can be found here.

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