Berea College begins construction on new building to replace Edwards Building

Berea College begins construction on new building to replace Edwards Building

BEREA, Ky. – Work is scheduled to begin this week on a new building that will replace the Edwards Building on Berea College’s campus, located near the corner of Main Street and Estill Street.

The original building, dedicated in 1902, was demolished in July of 2023 when officials determined that the existing building had structural problems and the cost of renovation was not feasible. 

“We are very excited to give appropriate recognition to the Edwards Building in this new replacement building,” said Chad Berry, vice president for Alumni, Communications and Philanthropy at Berea College. “It will be exciting to have a building that resembles Edwards on the outside, but that is modern and functional for students, alumni and friends, and staff on the inside.” 

Inside the atrium on the first floor, there will be recognition given to the former Edwards Building due to its importance to Berea College through the years. The interior will display the historic cornerstone of the original building and provide an overview of the Foundation School, which long occupied the Edwards Building. The exterior of the building will include architectural touches that come from the original design of Edwards. A cornerstone display will include bricks from the original building, providing a link to the building’s origin and history. The building will be constructed using a replica custom brick modeled by a local company to closely resemble the original Edwards Building brick.

Looking toward the future, the first floor of the new building will offer dedicated student spaces with flexible and modern learning and gathering rooms. These will help prepare students for the world that awaits them, including space that showcases programs dedicated to the workplace of the future, problem/solution-based learning, and preparation for internships. 

The second and third floors of the building will house the alumni and philanthropy units of the college’s Alumni, Communications and Philanthropy division.

Additionally, the new building will be LEED Silver certified, incorporating building occupant health and wellness design strategies not typically required by current building codes.  Other sustainable imperatives will be achieved by focusing on energy efficiency, thermal comfort, water-use reduction, use of natural lighting and recycled materials. 

Rich Dodd, director of project management at Berea College, is excited to see construction begin.

“We’ve assembled a talented design and construction team for this project that include a number of Minority and Women-owned Businesses in our region. With direction and feedback from our campus community, the building design does a wonderful job in paying homage to the original Edwards Building endeared by so many.”

A time-lapse camera over the site will allow viewers to capture construction as it progresses and have that publicly available. The feed can be found at

Parking for the building will approximate the size as the previous parking lot and will accommodate visitors to the Stephenson Building as well. The project is targeted to be completed in the winter of 2025.