Newberry College Collaborates to Renovate Historical Building for Student Housing and Community Improvements

Mar 29, 2011, 09:29 ET from Newberry College

NEWBERRY, S.C., March 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- As Newberry College continues to develop its "living and learning" campus with the City of Newberry, the college has announced plans to renovate the Oakland Mill for student housing and market rate apartments. The initiative has been more than just a building renovation, but a fresh beginning for the surrounding Oakland Mill village and the Newberry community.

Originally built in 1912, the student housing section, which takes up about 40% of the building, is set to be ready for student occupation in August. The building, located three-tenths of a mile from campus, will have 29 brand new units available in two- and four-bedroom suites, as well as meeting rooms, study areas and a game lounge for students. The other 60% of the building, set aside to create non-student apartments, will be complete in 2013.

Last May, West Electrical Contractors, Inc. purchased the building, which is situated on 16 acres of land in downtown Newberry. Avoiding original plans to demolish the Mill, they worked together with the town, county, school district and Newberry College to submit plans to the National Department of the Interior for approval within the guidelines of the National Preservations Act.

Licensed General Contractor Misty West said the plan was originally rejected, since the proposal called for the reinsertion of windows previously filled in. However, the only option to restore the building was for residential purposes, so they finally got approval since the National Building Code requires windows for any living space.

"The city, county and state all took part in requesting the windows," West said. "The College's involvement was key in this renovation, but this entire project has been a team effort that will ultimately benefit everyone involved, and truly beautify the surrounding area."

The Mill's transition to housing served as a catalyst for improving sidewalks, lighting, landscaping, and city street-scaping, in addition to creating walking and biking trails, improving nearby Oakland Park, and remodeling select single family homes in the area. Ultimately, when the project is complete, one-third of the Town of Newberry will be fully redeveloped.

"The Oakland Mill renovation has been a collaborative effort between the College and the community to provide space for students and community members alike," Newberry College President Dr. V. Scott Koerwer said. "By bringing a historic structure into the future with updates and renovations, we're investing in our students all while improving the community as a whole."

For continuous updates on the construction, visit the Oakland Mill Development Group Facebook page.

About Newberry College

A private, residential, co-educational, college with a diverse student population, Newberry College offers baccalaureate degrees in 24 majors, 31 minors, and 27 areas of concentration. Founded in 1856 by the Lutheran Church, the college is accredited by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, and the National Association of Schools of Music. The college has a radio and television station, and offers 15 NCAA Division II sports. In the recent 2011 ranking of the Best Colleges in U.S. News & World Report, Newberry College placed in the top tier of regional colleges in the South. For more information, visit

SOURCE Newberry College