Girard College Awarded $1 Million State Grant to Revitalize Landmark Founder’s Hall
Senator Sharif Street and Representative Donna Bullock recently announced that Girard College was awarded a Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant in the amount of $1,000,000 that will support the revitalization of Founder’s Hall, the iconic heart of our campus.
“Girard College is deeply appreciative of the continued partnership with our legislators,” said F. Christopher Goins, President of Girard College, “as they invest in our young people and in the North Philadelphia community. They recognize how important it is for us to fulfill the vision of this project, which will create significant educational and cultural impact for our students and neighbors.”
Goins added, “Girard College is also grateful for Governor Wolf’s support of the Founder’s Hall project by making these funds available to the school.”
The project, announced in October 2021 by The Board of Directors of City Trusts, includes interior work to create a single, large, multi-purpose room for events or lecture-style seminars as well as a museum exhibit space worthy of Stephen Girard’s legacy. Adjacent rooms will be repurposed for support spaces, a catering kitchen, and breakout conference spaces. Infrastructure upgrades are needed for accessibility, HVAC, electrical, lighting and life safety systems. Because of the building’s historical significance and designations, each proposed change had to be thoroughly vetted by the Philadelphia Historical Commission and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
The single most transformative aspect of the revitalization will be to remove an interior masonry wall to create a bigger room suitable for larger events and conferences.
“These are very competitive awards,” said Sylvia Bastani, Chief Advancement Officer at Girard College, “and we are delighted that Girard was selected. The revitalization of Founder’s Hall will enhance the educational opportunities for our students and invite the public to experience Girard as the Campus for the City through partnerships, conferences and other events.”
Two windows in the Boardroom will be converted to doors, allowing direct access to the exterior portico.
A new HVAC system will provide air conditioning to both the first floor for comfortable year-round events and to the second-floor museum spaces to control humidity for fragile items in the Stephen Girard collection.
Construction at Founder’s Hall has been underway since April 2022 and is working toward a 2023 reopening, coinciding with the school’s 175th anniversary year. The project received a $500,000 grant in a previous round of RAC-P grants.
The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program is a Commonwealth grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational and historical improvement projects.