Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Governor's Mansion Renovation

Yvonne Castillo
TSA General Counsel

The Texas Historical Commission’s Antiquities Advisory Board (AAB) met yesterday to consider approval of conceptual plans for the Texas Governor’s Mansion. Two options were considered: one that involved making the back stairway code-compliant, which would involve some renovations to the kitchen area due to the new and improved stairway eating up kitchen space, and the other involving both the stairway updates and an addition of a bedroom and bath. The key problem noted by the State Preservation Board (SPB) was the kitchen and the disruption/reduction of this space in order to make the stairway code-compliant. The SPB pointed out that the kitchen is not just for the First Family’s use, but for many public events where the Family may or may not be involved. The SPB stressed that, regardless of which option the AAB chooses, of utmost importance was adhering to the Department of Interior standards, including maintaining the symmetry of the Greek revival building. To view the options yourself, visit the SPB website.

TSA President Heather McKinney, FAIA, testified before the AAB. To review the testimony, click here. Generally, TSA took the position that the SPB’s plans (both options) were headed in the right direction and that the organization appreciated being included in an April 9th briefing with SPB staff. At the conclusion of the hearing, the AAB voted to recommend to the THC Commissioners approval of both options so that THC staff had some flexibility in managing the development of the project plans in between formal THC meetings. This was noted by one Commissioner, Donna Carter, as particularly important since the SPB is shooting for construction to begin in July. This Thursday, the THC Commissioners will vote on the AAB’s recommendation so stay tuned.

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