Front Page Main no image

Published on July 11th, 2017 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


Allen University wins historic preservation awards

Pictured: Jerome K. Simons, AIA, LEED AP (Project Architect, GMK Associates, Inc.); SC Governor Henry McMaster; William S. Robinson, MA (Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Allen University) Image Courtesy of the Governor’s Office.

GMK Associates, Inc., announced that the firm’s design-build restoration of Chappelle Auditorium on the campus of Allen University has received two historic preservation awards. The project was recently honored with a 2017 South Carolina Historic Preservation Award sponsored by the Office of the Governor, the South Carolina Archives and History Foundation, the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, and The Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation. This award recognizes “exceptional accomplishments in the preservation, rehabilitation, and interpretation of South Carolina’s architectural and cultural heritage.” Earlier in 2017, the project was awarded a 2017 Preservation/Restoration Award through Historic Columbia for adding to the “historical, architectural and cultural richness of Columbia and Richland County.”

“We are exceptionally proud of the restoration work at Chappelle Auditorium and are thrilled the project has been honored with these two awards,” said Jeff Neuman, GMK’s director of marketing. “These awards are a testament to the efforts of our project team, but also the dedication and vision of Allen University to ultimately bring this important project to fruition.”

The 7,300-square-foot, 700-seat Chappelle Auditorium (named for former Allen University President Bishop William D. Chappelle) forms the rear portion to the three-story Chappelle Administration Building located at the corner of Harden Street and Taylor Street on Allen University’s campus.

Chappelle Auditorium was originally designed by John Anderson Lankford, the official architect at that time of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church – the denomination with which Allen University is affiliated. As one of the nation’s first licensed African-American architects, Lankford has often been referred to as the “dean of black architects,” and Chappelle Auditorium has served over its history as a significant meeting place for well-known African American political and religious leaders, as well as a venue for notable artists and musicians.

The entire $2.9 million project to restore the Auditorium to its original state spanned over 8 years to accommodate phased funding through grants and donations. A formal rededication ceremony for the Auditorium was held on June 24, 2016, that coincided with the University’s opening of the new Richard F. Norris Center for Performing Arts and the creation of a new music curriculum.

Representatives of GMK Associates and Allen University were on hand for the formal statewide Awards Ceremony recently in the lower lobby of the State House in Columbia, SC. The award was presented by Lieutenant Governor Henry McMaster, and the ceremony was followed by a reception at the Woodrow Wilson Family Home on Hampton Street. The Historic Columbia 2017 Historic Preservation Awards Luncheon was held earlier in the year at City Market in the Vista.

GMK Associates, Inc. (, is a multi-disciplinary planning, design, and construction services firm focused on the healthcare, education, government, utility, senior living, and hospitality industries. Established in 1966, the firm is based in Columbia, SC, with satellite offices in Greenville, SC, Raleigh, NC, and Augusta, GA. GMK employs close to 70 professionals and is comprised of five interrelated divisions — architecture, engineering, interior design, design-build, and construction services.


About the Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

sixteen − 11 =

Back to Top ↑

Millennium Magazine Columbia SC News