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$1 million gift enables UGA to transform historic barn on Griffin campus into Dundee Café By Sam Fahmy

A historic structure at the heart of the University of Georgia Griffin campus will undergo a $1 million renovation thanks to a gift from the Dundee Community Association.

The nearly 100-year-old facility, which once housed mules that pulled plows and other farm equipment, will be repurposed into a café that will connect students and the surrounding community with the history of Griffin and Spalding County. The 3,900-square-foot Dundee Café at the Mule Barn is scheduled to open in summer 2018 in the historic structure near the campus student learning center.

"I want to express my deepest gratitude to the Dundee Community Association for this generous gift," said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. "The new café will enhance the Griffin campus while further strengthening the ties between the university and the surrounding communities." 

A historic structure at the heart of the University of Georgia Griffin campus will undergo a $1 million renovation thanks to a gift from the Dundee Community Association.

"As the second-oldest structure on campus, the Mule Barn represents a part of the Georgia Experiment Station and University of Georgia history that will be preserved and cherished thanks to the generosity of the Dundee Community Association," said Lew Hunnicutt, assistant provost and campus director at UGA-Griffin. "It will be the center and heartbeat of the academic quad, serving students and members of the Griffin/Spalding County community as well."

The UGA-Griffin campus was established in 1888 as the Georgia Experiment Station, part of a national network of agricultural research stations that were the forebears of today's Cooperative Extension programs. The Mule Barn was built in 1920 to demonstrate a new construction technique to the state. Original woodwork remains on several walls. Additional historical elements include the names of mules written on the interior walls where their bridles were hung, as well as crop weight calculations written in pencil and ink. These and other historic features will be protected during renovation and will be a highlight of the café. The building will also host music and other events and house rotating exhibits on the history of the campus and surrounding community, including nearby Dundee Mills.

Tom Gardner, chair of the Dundee Community Association, noted that textiles were a key industry in Spalding County, with Dundee Mills being the area's largest employer for nearly a century.

"The Dundee Community Association was focused on being a good corporate citizen and an essential partner in Griffin and Spalding County," Gardner said. "It was known for its dedication to supporting and enhancing the quality of life of the mills' employees and their families. Today, the Dundee Community Association is truly pleased that we can make this grant of $1 million to the UGA-Griffin campus. We believe the campus will be a vital part of the future growth of Griffin and the Spalding County community as it continues to expand educational opportunities, provides additional employment, and gains even more worldwide recognition through its research, instruction and service."

About UGA-Griffin

The UGA-Griffin campus was established in 1888 as the Georgia Experiment Station. It houses Extension services for the people of Georgia as well as internationally recognized research programs. It launched its first academic programs in 2005 and now offers undergraduate degree-completion programs and graduate degrees in fields ranging from agribusiness to education. UGA-Griffin is internationally known for its research in agriculture, food processing and food safety, among several other fields. Notable research centers at UGA-Griffin include the Center for Food Safety, the Food Product Innovation and Commercialization Center, the Center for Urban Agriculture, and a Turfgrass Research and Education Facility. For more information on UGA-Griffin, see www.griffin.uga.edu

(Sam Fahmy is director of public relations for the University of Georgia's Office of the Senior Vice-president for Academic Affairs and Provost.)

SLC and Mule Barn
SLC and Mule Barn

A nearly 100-year-old mule barn on the University of Georgia campus in Griffin, Georgia will be repurposed into a café that will connect students and the surrounding community with the history of Griffin and Spalding County. The 3,900-square-foot Dundee Café at the Mule Barn is scheduled to open in summer 2018 in the historic structure near the campus student learning center.

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A nearly 100-year-old mule barn on the University of Georgia campus in Griffin, Georgia will be repurposed into a café that will connect students and the surrounding community with the history of Griffin and Spalding County. The 3,900-square-foot Dundee Café at the Mule Barn is scheduled to open in summer 2018 in the historic structure near the campus student learning center. Download Image
Farming with mules
Farming with mules

The Mule Barn on the UGA campus in Griffin, Georgia, played a very important role at a time period when farm equipment was powered by mules.

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Mule Barn
Mule Barn

The Mule Barn was built in 1920 to demonstrate a new construction technique. Original woodwork remains on several walls as do the names of mules written on the interior walls where their bridles were hung. These and other historic features will be protected during renovation and will be a highlight of the café.

Download Image
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