National Park Service Awards $750,000 Grant to V.I. Architecture Center for Built Heritage and Crafts

The Virgin Islands Architecture Center for Built Heritage and Crafts Inc. plans to convert this old Christiansted landmark, ‘The Old Barracks,’ into a school for the arts, historical preservation, culture, construction and architecture. (Source photo by Linda Morland)

The Virgin Islands Architecture Center (VIAC) for Built Heritage and Crafts (VIAC) has been awarded a “Save America’s Treasures” grant of $750,000 to begin shell construction of Building 2 of the Old Barracks Property on Hospital Street, Christiansted, St. Croix.

VIAC is one of 58 projects across the nation that was awarded a grant from the National Park Service (NPS) in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

“The VIAC Board of Directors and Advisory Council is extremely excited to receive this grant that will kick-off the rehabilitation of the Old Barracks property and begin its visible conversion into an educational center for the historic preservation, architectural and building arts of the Virgin Islands and the Caribbean,” said Board Chair Mary Dema.

“We look forward to our engagement with the St. Croix community as this project which originated with [the] Christiansted Town Plan charettes [when it came] to fruition,” she said.

“These grants preserve and conserve nationally significant properties and collections to tell a more complete story of America and its people,” said NPS Director Chuck Sams. “Preserving these historic places and collections ensures [that] generations of today and tomorrow can enjoy and learn from the diverse stories across time and place in America’s history.”

The Save America’s Treasures grants are awarded from the Historic Preservation Fund. The 58 projects in 26 states, the Virgin Islands and the District of Colombia that will receive the $25.7 million in total awards are required to match the grant money dollar-to-dollar with non-federal funding and are expected to leverage almost $60 million in private and public investment.

The Virgin Islands Architecture Center currently holds a lease on Buildings 1 and 2 of the Old Barracks Property.  Shell construction of Building 2 will entail rehabilitation, according to the Secretary of Interior’s standards.  The Old Barracks Property is a contributing structure of the Christiansted National Historic District.  Rehabilitation under this grant will include structural stabilization, clearing of debris and vegetation, repairing the interior, windows and doors, repairing utilities, and architectural and engineering services.

“VIAC wants to thank Governor Albert Bryan, Delegate to Congress Stacey Plaskett, Senate President Novelle Francis, State Historic Preservation Director Sean Krigger, and US Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority Director Wayne Biggs for their support of this grant request,” said Dema. “VIAC continues to be a community-driven project, and I look forward to collaboration from all sectors of the community as it develops.”

The Virgin Islands Architecture Center for Built Heritage and Crafts

1236 Strand Street, Christiansted, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, 00820 /513-2081