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Voorhees University makes historic preservation upgrades to oldest building on campus

Denmark, S.C. – Thanks to a grant from the National Park Service, Voorhees University has been able to make upgrades to Booker T. Washington Hall, the oldest building on campus, built in 1905.

Renovation work on Booker T. Washington Hall (now known as the BTW Building) was completed in mid-July at a cost of $500,000. Upgrades included roof replacement, refinishing and replacing fascia and eaves boards, installing new period-appropriate downspouts, painting all trim and windows, replacing handrails, and installing new columns and doors.

The renovation of the BTW Building was part of an $8.6 million National Park Service grant awarded to Historically Black Colleges and Universities to preserve historic structures. The grant was awarded in 2018.

“We are honored to have received a grant from the National Park Service to support the preservation of historic structures on HBCU campuses,” said Ronnie Hopkins, president of Voorhees University. “Ensuring the continued use of the BTW Building supports the legacy of our founder, Elizabeth Evelyn Wright, and her mentor, Booker T. Washington, who inspired her to create this citadel of higher learning in Denmark, South Carolina. Ms. Wright founded Voorhees to ensure educational opportunities for students of color. For 125 years, we have been doing just that.”

Originally used as a hospital for the Bamberg County area, the BTW Building, which is an 8,687 square-foot structure, currently houses offices for the president of the university, the vice president for strategic planning and technology, human resources, and the director for instructional assessment, research and quality enhancement.

During renovation

Following renovation

About Voorhees University

Voorhees University, founded by Elizabeth Evelyn Wright in 1897, is a private, coeducational institution affiliated with the Episcopal Church and the United Negro College Fund. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate and graduate degrees. Its mission is to produce highly qualified graduates who coalesce intellect and faith in pursuit of life-long learning, healthy living, the betterment of society, and an abiding faith in God. U.S. News & World Report has ranked Voorhees as a #1 best value, #3 in social mobility and #33 among regional colleges in the south in 2022-2023; and #26 among Historically Black Colleges and Universities, nationally. Additional information about Voorhees University can be found at


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