Training institution

Foundation restores Nigeria’s first building at Hope Waddell training institution – The Sun Nigeria

Since Judex OkoroCalabar

As As part of this year’s International Day for Monuments and Sites commemoration activities, the Foundation for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage in Nigeria (FOPCHEN) announced yesterday that it has secured international funding to restore and reuse the iconic Premier Building in Hope Waddell Training Establishment, Calabar.

The one-story prefabricated building was constructed in 1894 by missionaries as part of their plans to expand the frontiers of education in the country.

It is one of the earliest known examples of educational buildings erected by missionaries in Nigeria.

FOPCHEN said he was delighted to work on this project because of its significant historical, architectural and educational value and the commitment of the owners of Hope Waddell (the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria), the administration of the school and the institution’s alumni executive to see the building restored and restored to use.

FOPCHEN is an international non-profit organization with offices in Nigeria, the United States of America and Europe.

Bekeh Ukelina, a history professor at the State University of New York, Cortland, and program director/senior scholar, said the restoration of the building is long overdue, adding that it is not enough that it is classified as a national monument.

Ukelina revealed that the building has on several occasions housed notable Nigerians such as former President Nnamdi Azikiwe and Akanu Ibiam who were educated at the institution.

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“When I visited the building in 2019, I was so moved by the poor state of conservation of the building and I knew I had to do something about it. I gathered our team at FOPCHEN and we We were excited about the prospects of working on this building and started looking for funding for the project.”

FOPCHEN Development Manager, Kenneth Gbandi, said the Calabar project is one of many restoration projects in the pipeline they have earmarked in Nigeria, adding that they are committed to long-term relationships and the capacity building in Nigeria.

He said the organization is committed to offering training workshops to local architects and craftsmen on architectural restoration and providing tools for monitoring the state of conservation of historical monuments.

He further disclosed that they have identified projects in Delta State, Edo State and Rivers State that are in dire need of conservation just as they look forward to partnering with civil society, government agencies and institutions to preserve and protect Nigeria’s heritage.

The project’s lead heritage architect, Tokie Laotan-Brown, said, “The first stage of the project is to carry out an architectural study and document the building to determine the appropriate action plan and rehabilitation activities.”