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Historic Provo dormitory restored, 3 years after being slated for demolition

Posted at 10:04 PM, Aug 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-20 00:04:51-04

PROVO, Utah — A historic building in Provo once slated for demolition is back to its original grandeur and purpose after 82 years.

For the first time since 1964, young women live in Amanda Knight Hall off 800 North.

“It’s so fun living here and getting inspiration from the place where you live. It’s really awesome,” said Brigham Young University design student Claire Jenkins.

The impressive building was built in 1939 as the first women’s dorm at Brigham Young University. It’s the only surviving example of English Tudor Revival and Jacobethan Revival styles in Provo.

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“There are some initials of people who used to live here underneath the mantle which is pretty cool,” said Jenkins, pointing to the original fireplace.

“We saw that magical building…and decided we wanted to move there,” said Sally Chalmers.

Sally Chalmers was one of the last women to live in the dorms the early 1960s.

“It almost felt like living in a castle to me. It was just fun,” Chalmers said.

After 35 years as a dorm, the building held classrooms for the Missionary Training Center before falling into disrepair.

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By 2018, it was deemed un-restorable and slated for demolition. Community and historical activists couldn’t let that happen.

“The bones were good; the skin was good. But there was rework to bring back the history of the building,” said Mountain Classic Real Estate’s Chris Phipps.

Mountain Classic Real Estate bought the property from Brigham Young University. For two years, they’ve worked to bring her back.

“We tried to keep as many of the original features as we could,” said Phipps.

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Once again, Amanda Knight Hall is approved housing for women attending BYU. By the end of the week, nearly 60 students will call the historic building home.

“We are so happy to see this happen. We don’t always get preservation wins,” said Amber Anderson with Utah Division of State History, which provided tax credits for the restoration.

"We want them to come and see what great things can be and go and make a difference in the world,” said Chris.