Historic Structures Report
We first started talking about a Historic Structures Report for the Blackwell School in 2016, while discussing with local architect Mike Green about next steps to preserve our building.
This led us to a site visit from Mike Robb of the Texas Historical Commission who explained further about needing a comprehensive plan for restoration—a plan that would take into consideration the building’s historical integrity and significance, while also allowing us to modernize the plumbing and electricity and
create a space suitable for a professional museum and community space.
Through our contacts at the Texas Historical
Commission we were connected to a graduate program historic preservation architecture at UT San Antonio.
In 2017, Bill Dupont, Director of the Center for Cultural Sustainability at UT San Antonio, brought a team of historic preservation graduate students to the Blackwell School in July as part of a summer seminar. Their
fieldwork at the Blackwell School provided some critical evidence about our building’s origins—and got a lot of people excited about long-term preservation of the Blackwell School.
In 2018 we were able to hire San Antonio architect Sue Ann Pemberton to complete our Historic Structures Report.
She is an architect in private practice and a university professor. She has extensive experience in conducting these kinds of projects on historic structures. And a big qualification in her favor is her long-time interest in, and experience with, adobe and earthen structures.
Ms. Pemberton and her team visited the school in July 2018, conducted historical research, and used strict historic guidelines to develop recommendations for how to approach the very large task of completely renovating our building.
Ms. Pemberton returned on August 25 to answer our questions, and ask a few of her own. She delivered the finished report in April 2019. The report recommends a
phased construction schedule based on both what are immediate building problems and what is the logical sequence of restoration.
Once we have digested her recommend-ations, we will begin a fundraising campaign to pay for the first phase. We know this will be expensive. Yet, this is what we have been waiting for—a road map to our goals. Stay tuned to learn more.
Read more here:
The Blackwell School Alliance has been aided in this project by local architect Mike Green and representatives of the Texas Historical Commission (THC). Consultation has also been provided by historian Lonn Taylor and architect Peter Stanley. Alliance President Gretel Enck says, “We are over the moon to get going on this project with such a dedicated and experienced team. This is a very important step toward achieving our long-term goal of creating a fully functional museum and community center at the Blackwell School.”