Started In 2005
The Greeneville architectural firm of Fisher + Associates and a Bristol construction company have been honored for their work in renovating the building that houses East Tennessee State University's Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy.
The Tri-Cities Branch of the Association of General Contractors (AGC) has presented Fisher + Associates and Bristol-based BurWil Construction Company with the "AGC Project of the Year Award" in a special category that recognized projects exceeding $5 million.
The four-story building is on the Veterans Administration Medical Center campus in Johnson City.
The cost of extensive renovations to the building was $7.5 million.
The original building was a residence hall constructed in 1903.
The handsome, traditional building's four floors now house classrooms, a laboratory, faculty offices, a cafe, a student center, a student lounge and a locker area.
In an interview Wednesday, John Fisher, owner-operator of Fisher + Associates, said a major challenge he faced in 2005 when he began designing what had been a long-empty building was to provide enough space for some 220 pharmacy students there now and about 300 students who will be there next fall, as well as for 40 faculty and staff.
To do so, Fisher said, he had the building's top floor, which had been an empty attic, converted to provide room for 24 faculty offices.
Then, the architect said, he had what had been an unusable basement deepened to provide room for a teaching laboratory, a cafe, student lounge, and other student facilities.
Before undertaking the renovation, Fisher said, "the entire building was gutted."
The building's main floor and second floor are where the College of Pharmacy's classrooms and administrative offices are located.
Fisher added the entranceway porch shown in the above photo. It matches a similar, traditional-looking porch on the other side of the building, which can be entered on either side.
"A foyer and rotunda was created along this entrance axis. The rotunda space is like a small museum. It shows the history of the building and of the practice of pharmacy in this region, displaying donated artifacts."
Fisher said that when he began the project, his aim was to provide a practical, modern facility while retaining the building's traditional character. "I think we met both goals," he said.
Dr. Larry Calhoun, dean of the School of Pharmacy, has said the building's renovation "was a major undertaking, considering its age and the fact that it had not been in use for years.
"The teams from Fisher + Associates and BurWil Construction Company worked extremely well together to create a facility that is truly spectacular," Calhoun said.