Two Historic Camden Properties to be Renovated and Reactivated by Rutgers

CAMDEN --  The Rutgers Board of Governors approved two renovation projects in Camden during its regularly scheduled meeting on the Rutgers–Camden campus on Friday, Dec. 14.

The board approved a $4.5 million renovation of 305 Cooper Street, which will be transformed into a Writers House on the Rutgers–Camden campus.  The property is on the National Register of Historic Places and is known for its striking construction in the American Queen Anne revival style by renowned Philadelphia architect Wilson Eyre Jr. in 1885.  The building often is referenced in its historical context as the Henry Genet Taylor House named for the doctor who commissioned Eyre to design the structure.

Rutgers will maintain the historic accuracy of the building during the renovation, which will conclude in July 2015.  Significant historical features, such as windows, flooring, doors, moldings, and fireplaces, will be restored.  The existing building is 6,685 gross square feet; an addition complimentary in design to the original structure will add 4,320 square feet.

When finished, 305 Cooper Street will become a Writers House that will serve students enrolled in the Rutgers–Camden undergraduate and master’s English programs, as well as the master of fine arts in creative writing program, by providing them with a space to encourage the development of their creative work.  The building will host public readings by visiting authors from around the world, as well as aspiring local writers, and will provide office space for the Department of English.

Additionally, the Rutgers Board of Governors approved a $2.5 million renovation of 312 Cooper Street, which will transform the former headquarters for the American Red Cross of Camden County into a Rutgers Alumni House.

Ownership of the 8,015 square-foot structure transferred to Rutgers when the university took possession of 330 Cooper Street, the newly constructed, 12-story student residential facility, earlier in 2012.  A 1,150 square-foot addition will be added to provide an elevator.  Construction is expected to be completed in April 2014.

The property is made up of two earlier buildings united by a single brick façade. The western side of the building is an original, early nineteenth-century residence in the Federal style and has been classified as historical.  Rutgers will work to preserve the historical characteristics of the facility throughout the renovation process.

When completed, the Rutgers Alumni House will provide a gathering spot for all Rutgers graduates, including the approximately 44,000 graduates of Rutgers–Camden.  The building also will provide spaces for the alumni relations and development offices at the campus.

“These renovation projects will transform both Rutgers–Camden and our host city,” says Rutgers–Camden Chancellor Wendell E. Pritchett.  “We will bring two important pieces of Camden history back to life in a way that will honor our city’s rich history and attract more people to our campus, and the increased number of visitors will add vitality to Camden’s University District.”

The construction process for both buildings will begin during the summer of 2013. Neither facility currently is in use by Rutgers.

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For more information about Rutgers–Camden news stories, visit us at news.camden.rutgers.edu

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