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Flint Hall to be renovated
A history of Flint Hall
No one would have believed the script.
Colleges just don't get perfect donors like
this. True-blue Gators with a deep love
and respect for Arts and Sciences. Strong
believers in historic restoration. And a
deep sense that these renovations "should
be done right."
Unlikely as it might seem, all these
traits are found in our extraordinary CLAS
benefactors, Kenneth and Janet Keene.
Their name will be added to the current
Flint Hall based on their major gift of
$3M to CLAS, which also makes available
complementary state funds. The overall
project will then provide for a beautifully
restored Keene-Flint Hall and an equally
elegant Anderson Hall.
Anyone who has seen the before and
after scenes in Griffin-Floyd Hall will
understand what these historic buildings
can once more become. Keene-Flint Hall
and Anderson Hall will be our anchor
buildings fronting University Avenue,
shifting the center of gravity for CLAS
back toward the original historic district.
Many people deserve credit for this
exciting initiative. First, thanks to the
historic preservation stalwarts who kept
the wrecking ball away from the buildings
20 years ago. More recently, gratitude
is owed to Carter Boydstun, chief fund-
raiser for CLAS; to Chuck Frazier, CLAS
space czar; and to Provost Betty Capaldi,
who made the defining decision allowing
a package deal of two historic buildings
that finalized our donors' participation.
Most of all, of course, it is Ken and Janet
Keene who are responsible for this land-
It is difficult to overestimate the
significance of restoring these two build-
ings. Not only do we recover our own
history, but we regain marvelous facili-
ties for future students and faculty. The
Keenes have given a gift of truly inesti-
mable value to the University of Florida.
Will Harrison, Dean
December 15, 1997
FLINT HALL TO BE RENOVATED
$3 Million Gift To Restore Historic UF Building
Artist's rendering of renovated Keene-Flint Hall.
tion should be completed in the year 2000.
A after 20 years of vacancy and
decay, Flint Hall (1910) will
finally get the renovations
needed to restore its grandeur and
integrity. Kenneth Keene (Math'47)
and his wife, Janet, recently made
the University a $3 million gift to fi-
nance the project. With the addition
of state matching and added capital
improvement funds, the Keene's
generosity will actually yield over
$18 million, enabling the concurrent
renovation of Anderson Hall (1913),
Flint's eastern counterpart in the
original UF campus design. Of the
12 remaining pre-1923 structures,
Flint and Anderson are two of the
last to be restored.
Pre-planning for both build-
ings has already begun, as the
artist's renderings in this issue
indicate, and formal planning
should start in August, 1998. New
and improved "Keene-Flint" and
Anderson Halls will be completed
in the year 2000.
The Keenes, who have already
endowed a scholarship fund
and donated money for a faculty
center in Dauer Hall, are modest
about their contributions. "Our
principal motivation," says Ken
Keene, "is to help provide proper
educational opportunities for fu-
ture UF students."
Artist's rendering of Keene-Flint's
renovated main entrance, based on
the original 1910 plans.
I SPECIAL EDITIO
If These Walls Could Talk...
A History of Flint Hall
Much of the following was taken from "The Rehabilitation of Edward R. Flint Hall"a 1981 MA Architecture thesis by John Edgar Fuller.
Built in 1910, Flint Hall is the fourth
oldest building on the University
of Florida campus, and it is one
of the 13 original campus buildings de-
signed by architect William Edwards. In
Edwards' campus plan, Flint and Ander-
son Hall (1913) were designed to serve as
gatepostss" to the University of Florida,
and with their striped awnings and
ivy-covered walls they indeed formed
a stately entrance to campus.
"Science Hall," as Flint was originally
called, initially housed the Departments
of Chemistry, Physics, Botany, Zoology,
Horticulture, and Bacteriology. Biology
and Zoology continued to maintain of-
fices there until 1974, when the Depart-
ment of Urban and Regional Planning
and the College of Architecture began
using the building to supplement their
Flint was also the original home of the
Florida State Museum. The University
Museum had been housed in Thomas
Hall (UF's first building) but was relo-
cated to the second floor of Flint in 1910.
The Florida State Museum was founded
in 1913, when T. Van Hyning came to the
University of Florida to establish a col-
lection of birds and eggs acquired from
R. D. Hoty of Clearwater, FL. In 1918, the
museum acquired its first large collection
of history and art, the valuable Loring
Collection from St. Augustine. The Mu-
seum continued to grow and eventually
amassed an impressive collection of fish,
birds, crustacea, reptiles, mammals
and mollusca of Florida in addition
to Native American artifacts, history
and art (exhibit cases pictured left).
Eventually, the museum expanded
to require all of the second floor of
Flint, and it remained there until the
need for additional space resulted
in its relocation to the John F. Seagle
Building in the 1930s. The Museum
returned to campus in 1971, when
Dickinson Hall was dedicated on
The historic character of Flint Hall
was substantially damaged with a
f late 1950s renovation designed to
maximize square footage. The
north, south and west entrances
were bricked up, and the two-story
stairwells were converted to one-
story units for additional classroom
and office space. The original Gothic
vaulted ceiling and arched entryway
were destroyed, and composite col-
umns, carved woodwork, ornamental
plasterwork and the formal entry hall
and stairs were all removed. Terra
cotta ornamentation on the exterior
surrounding the north entrance was
also done away with.
After continued decay, Flint Hall
was condemned in 1978 by the State
Fire Marshall, who prohibited its
use as an instructional facility until
numerous code violations had been
corrected. The building has remained
vacant since then, although various
departments have used portions of
the building for storage. Over the
years of disuse, the interior of Flint
Hall has continued to deteriorate
(present interior condition pictured
below). Until now, that is. Finally,
historic Flint Hall can reoccupy its
rightful place as both a University
showpiece and an active and useful
academic building for many genera-
tions of Gators to come.%
Taken shortly after the building's completion, this photo illustrates the
dramatic effect Flint Hall had on the (then sparse) UF campus
Profile of the Donors: Ken and Janet Keene
Kenneth Keene's long, positive
relationship with the Univer-
sity of Florida began in the sum-
mer of 1942, while he was still in high
school. His mother, a South Bay, Florida
school-teacher, brought Keene with her
to Gainesville that summer, where she
was taking courses to update her teach-
ing license. She enrolled Ken at UF's
P.K. Yonge lab school, where he met
instructor Hazen Nutter. Nutter was
impressed with the young Keene, and
convinced Mrs. Keene to leave her son
with him in Gainesville, where he could
continue his studies and help Nutter
care for his elderly mother.
Nutter, says Keene, "had a substantial
influence on me. He held three jobs
simultaneously despite his health con-
dition.....and he always inspired me to
do my homework. He also taught me
how to drive," Keene remembers fondly.
Keene, who by this time had graduated
from P.K. Yonge and started college, left
the Nutters and UF after his freshman
year to join the Navy. He served until
the end of WWII (19 months).
Because the Navy put him through
a special 11-month training program
for radar technology, Keene was able
to convince the registrar to give him 30
hours of Arts and Sciences credit upon
his return to UF in 1946. Keene kept in
close touch with Nutter, who continued
to take in and support other students.
To commemorate the man who so im-
pressed him, several years ago Keene
donated both a confer-
ence table for the Ruth
McQuown Room and
an endowed memorial
scholarship fund in
with a math degree
in 1947, Keene was
admitted to The Uni-
versity of Michigan,
which, he says, "had
one of the top two pro-
grams in actuarial sci-
ence in the country."
Keene credits a Liberal
Arts education for his
success in graduate
school and the busi-
ness world. "There
are two categories of actuaries," Keene
says, "those who can present them-
selves well and have a strong business
orientation, and those who, in today's
vocabulary, might be called 'nerds.' My
CLAS education gave me a broad view
of a number of subjects, which was very
important in my career."
Keene began his professional life as
an actuary in Hartford, with a 16-year
stint at Aetna. Next he worked for
several large brokerage and consulting
firms in New York City, including Met
Life and Johnson and Higgins, where
he spent 17 years before retiring in
1987. What does this 70+ George Bush
look-alike enjoy doing in his free time?
r. Edward R. Flint was the Universi
of Fl 'professor of chemistry o
S It I.c was also the reside -
*-State Chemist a
u p n ta n e j
S- ettin f Ri
! Harvard. ScienCjta was-renamec
Hall in his honor In the late 1950s.
"Shooting hoops," Keene says. "I'm a
devoted fan of the regional YMCA," he
continues, "and I spend three or four
hours a day there."
Keene's wife, Janet, grew up in Cali-
fornia and began working as a flight
attendant for American Airlines in 1961.
She married Ken in 1968, and despite
the couple's busy lifestyle, she still
works half of each month for American.
Ken says that Janet's airline benefits
allow the couple to fly anywhere they
want, a perk which fuels their love of
travel. From their home in Connecticut,
they regularly visit California, Florida
and the Washington, DC area, where
they are restoring a 1785 townhouse.
Janet has been renovating houses as a
hobby since 1981, and Ken says she has
an exceptionally good sense of style.
"She uses a lot of common sense," he
says of her decorating. "Everything she
does is classic but functional."
"I enjoy historic projects, so the Flint
renovation really appealed to me,"
Janet explains. Both Keenes plan to be
very involved in the restoration pro-
cess, but Janet is especially interested in
contributing to the interior decoration.
"I'm really excited," she says, "I can't
wait to get started."
Keene Gift Will Also Fund Anderson Restorations
A s an added bonus, the Keene's gift for the
renovation of Flint Hall will also fund the
tandem completion of Anderson Hall
(1913), Flint's eastern counterpart. "Language Hall," D,.
as Anderson was originally known, was the first
home of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as
well as the library, book store, president's office, and
"The Keenes wanted their gift to have a signifi-
cant impact on both the College of Liberal Arts and
Sciences and the University of Florida as a whole,"
says Associate Dean Chuck Frazier. "By writing An-
derson into the proposal, we were able to generate
additional state funds, dramatically increasing the
Because Anderson and Flint are both part of the
northeast quadrant of campus (where the majority of
libraries, teaching departments and classrooms are still
located), UF Provost Betty Capaldi put a priority on
securing funding for them. "They will be wonderful
classroom/ office build-
ings in a location where
we really need them,"
Although a "phased
renovation" of Anderson
began in 1993, progress
has been painfully slow
due to a shortage of
funding. Thus far, the
building has received
an updated transformer,
computer wiring and a
fire-rated stair tower on
the west side. The north
entrance-which, like the
original grand entrances
., - to Flint Hall, had been
UF Archives blocked off decades
ago in efforts to salvage
additional classroom space-has also been restored to its
original state, complete with maple landing and stair-
way up to the first floor.
But this progress is minor considering the amount
of work necessary to properly and completely renovate
historic Anderson. Fortunately, the Keene's gift will al-
low a "full restoration," says Frazier, so that along with
maximizing useful space, "all architecturally significant
Above: Artist's rendering, NE corner of renovated
Anderson Hall, illustrating the new elevator tower.
Below, left: Firefighters battle the blaze that de-
stroyed the third floor ofAnderson Hall in 1971.
features will be preserved and / or restored."
Additionally, the burnt-out third floor of Anderson,
boarded up since the 1971 fire which badly damaged it,
will finally be rebuilt for classroom and office space, and
a new elevator tower and stairs (see rendering, above)
will allow Anderson to meet Americans With Disabilities
Act and fire code standards for the first time.
The dual renovation of Anderson and Keene-Flint
Halls addresses serious CLAS problems (decaying
facilities and the need for additional teaching space)
while also alleviating a major UF pressure: increasing
enrollment and the resulting shortage of classroom and
instructional support facilities. Since CLAS is a central
part of UF's instructional program, the Keenes' gift will
indeed have the major significance they'd hoped for. a
Above: Anderson Hall in the 1930s