Restoration projects in LAS receive Heritage Awards

The English Building and Jane Bergman honored for preservation efforts
English Building
A project to restore the roof of the English Buliding has received a Heritage Award.

Two recipients within the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences have been awarded the 2020 Heritage Award from the Preservation and Conservation Association of Champaign (PACA). 

Jane Bergman, office manager for the Department of Mathematics, received the award for her historical replica of the glass dome that once overlooked the library in Altgeld Hall. The other award went to a renovation project to improve the roof of the English Building.

Jane Bergman with foil replica
Jane Bergman poses with the foil replica of the former stained glass dome that once overlooked the Altgeld Hall library. (Photo courtesy of Jane Bergman.)

Bergman put more than a decade’s worth of work into redesigning the Altgeld Hall library’s former stained glass dome. It began in 2008 when Bergman, while employed in Altgeld Hall, learned of the past existence of the dome. Taken down in 1942, the original dome was a bit of a mystery, as Bergman had only a single photo showing a portion of it. She spent the next several years conducting painstaking research and artistry on her own time to create a 50-inch by 33.5-inch foil replica.

Bergman’s efforts could help lead to the restoration of the dome when Altgeld Hall is renovated (the renovation is expected to be complete in 2025).

“Agatha Christie would be proud of your sleuthing to achieve a very well informed design,” Phyllis Williams, secretary to the PACA Board of Directors, told Bergman. “Your use of interdisciplinary resources represent the highest ideals of the university and the preservation community.”

Bergman told the College of LAS that she was deeply honored to receive the award.

“My mission in creating the rendition of the stained glass dome was to bring awareness of its existence and the spectacular beauty and light it previously added to the majesty of Altgeld Hall,” she said.

When English Building’s slate tile roof began to deteriorate, an analysis by the design firm Bailey Edward revealed that the 115-year-old structure’s roof was overstressing the support structures. The resulting renovation project included renovating the roof surfaces, masonry walls and chimneys, building structure, wood cornices, dormers, windows, lightning protection, and attic ventilation. The project also included insulating the roof to meet International Energy Code standards. All work was done to meet the U.S. Secretary for the Interior’s standards for building preservation.

Derek Fultz, director of facilities for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, underscored the importance of the PACA Heritage Award for the university.

The PACA award provides significant local recognition for the work we do on campus maintaining, preserving, and updating our facilities,” Fultz said. “This work not only keeps historically significant structures in good repair, but also provides spaces for world class learning and research opportunities. It is wonderful that we have a local organization like PACA that recognizes the impact these buildings have on campus life and the fabric of our communities.” 

The Heritage Award was established in 1985 to recognize outstanding projects and individuals who have contributed to historic preservation efforts in east central Illinois.

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Kimberly Wilson