Plant Hall after 1933
Client: University of Tampa
Location: 401 West Kennedy Blvd. Tampa, FL
Site: The main academic building on UT’s campus. It was originally constructed in 1884 as the Tampa Bay Hotel by railroad magnate Henry B. Plant.
Program Challenge: To complete a historic restoration on the building's east and west verandahs, which had sustained years of water and termite damage. The project also had to adhere to the Secretary of the Interiors Standards for Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings.
Solution: After assessing all of the verandahs damage, it was determined that the roofing of both verandahs needed to be replaced, portions of the flooring in the west verandah needed to be repaired and replaced, and sections of the ornate wooden trim needed to be replaced. As work advanced on the project it was revealed that the verandahs had also suffered structural damage. Some of the beams, joists, and roof sheathing needed to be replaced and more than 75% of the columns supporting the roof structures needed repair. In order to make several of the repairs, custom support structures were developed to hold the verandahs in place. These were used while sections of the steel and wooden columns were removed and replaced, and while proper roof support structures where implemented.
Care was taken to retain any portions of the verandahs that were salvageable in order to maintain the structure’s designation on the National Register of Historic Places. Custom milling was used to exactly replicate any pieces that needed to be completely replaced. Replacements for the verandahs’ ornate trim work were handcrafted on-site. More than 90 years of paint – layers upon layers – were removed painstakingly to reveal the original color, and all of the trim work was restored to match. The restoration also included the installation of PVC rainwater leaders in the columns, which will help protect the steel columns from the rot and corrosion that destroyed the originals.
The restoration was honored with several awards including the 1991 Award of Recognition for Historic Preservation from the Hillsborough County Planning Commission.
Award of Recognition for Historic Preservation, 1991, Hillsborough County Planning Commission