Talladega College is a private, liberal arts, historically black college in Talladega, Alabama, and is Alabama’s oldest private historically black college. Foster Hall, erected as a dormitory for girls and teachers in 1869, was the first building added after the college was chartered in 1865 and is the country’s oldest historically black dormitory. After years of disuse and falling into disrepair, including partial collapse of some sections, the college was determined to put this culturally important building back in use.
Risha Engineering teamed with The Lathan Company and the College to renovate the existing unreinforced masonry building by pursuing an adaptive re-use strategy. After a comprehensive structural evaluation, the approach consisted of shoring-up the brick masonry façade and building a new interior shell for the building in addition to repairing and restoring damaged structural elements and components. Although the final programming has yet to be decided, uses discussed include flexible, open classroom spaces and boarding rooms to mimic the original dormitory feel. Risha Engineering is proud to be a part of restoring such a culturally important historical landmark and allowing future generations to experience its rich tradition.