In 1987, A-B Tech purchased the former campus of Saint Genevieve-Gibbons Hall School, which closed that same year. Just one structure remains from the campus’s past: the Ivy Building, which was designed by Willis Irvin in 1936 and initially served as the auditorium and gymnasium for St. Genevieve-Gibbons Hall. Once considered for demolition, the Ivy Building has recently been restored thanks to joint efforts by the A-B Tech Foundation, the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County (PSABC) and St. Genevieve-Gibbons Hall alumni.
“Alumni from the schools and preservationists mounted an incredibly successful campaign to ‘Save the Ivy’ during a period of growth at A-B Tech,” says Amanda Edwards, executive director of the A-B Tech Foundation, which led the community fundraising campaign for the project’s completion. “We were fortunate to have leadership who saw the significance of this building and had a vision for how it could be a part of the College.” The project was led by Brantley Construction Company and local architect Clark Nexsen and his team. The restoration included both interior and exterior building work: the interior of the main floor was refinished, repainted and repaired; the basement level was upfitted into a suite of offices; and most of the existing plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems were replaced. The existing windows were also restored and utilities were brought to the building. The oak entry doors and the interior 12-panel doors were all removed and restored by Michael Logan and his team at Logan Restoration and Contracting of Asheville.
More than $350,000 was raised for the project. St. Genevieve-Gibbons Hall alumni raised $300,000 in gap funding, of which the brothers Andrew Blum (class of 1976), Leonard Blum (class of 1978) and Robert Blum (class of 1981) pledged $50,000 in dollar-for-dollar gifts from alumni. PSABC contributed a $5,000 Preservation Grant, which was also matched by the Blum brothers. “After years of advocacy for the Ivy building, we were excited to award the first grant from our new Preservation Grant program to the Ivy restoration in 2018,” says Jessie Landl, director of development and programming at PSABC.
For more information about the restoration project, visit ABTech.edu/ivy.