After years of fundraising, planning, and construction, a historic building on the University of Louisiana at Lafayette campus is now ready for its next chapter.
Renovations to the J. Arthur Roy House are nearly complete. The building will soon be home to the Center for Louisiana Studies.
“It’s the only building that’s still standing from the university’s original campus,” said Dr. Joshua Caffery, director of the Center for Louisiana Studies, who gave KATC a tour of the newly-renovated building.
The Roy House, which is located at the corner of Johnston Street and University Avenue, was completed in 1901. It is the only university structure listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“We’re a historical organization, it's a historic house- we didn’t want to change too much,” said Caffery. “If anything, we brought it much closer to what it was originally, than what it was 20 years ago.”
The renovations included major structural work and restoration of elaborate ornamental wood and tilework in the interior.
The community played a major part in the Restore The Roy project, which received a matching grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
“Everything that helped to make this project happen came from the community,” said Caffery, who estimates the work totaled about $1.5-million. “It was a huge boon to the whole effort. Those matching grants helped galvanized donors, so that really helped.”
Caffery said he’s excited to move in, and open his department to the public.
“We’re an archive and a publisher, but really what we’re interested in is interfacing with the public and being an interface for the campus and the humanities at UL with the public,” he said.
The first floor of the Roy House features space for book talks, lectures, and even a storefront to showcase more than 300 books published under UL Press.
“We’ve just been having a lot of people happy to see it come back to life,” said Caffery. “And it makes us very proud and very happy to be doing this.”
A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for later this spring.