Advocacy Alerts

2020 Report Recommends Preservation of College Lodge

preservation-admin , April 23, 2024

Rendering from the 2020 report by Sottile & Sottile of College Lodge, showing the Callhoun Street elevation activated with expanded storefront and street trees (Credit: All renderings by Sottile & Sottile for College of Charleston)

A previously unpublished report, produced in 2020 for College of Charleston (CofC), recommends renovating College Lodge, prompting questions and shedding new light on the school’s second request to demolish the landmark building, expected this week.

On Wednesday, the Board of Architectural Review – Large (BAR) will consider the proposal to demolish College Lodge, a longtime CofC dormitory originally constructed in 1963 as the Downtowner Motor Inn. At the first review in January, the Preservation Society joined residents, preservationists, and CofC alumni in advocating for the building’s continued use and preservation as a beloved community landmark and increasingly rare local example of midcentury-modern architecture.

This position was bolstered by a letter from the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) deeming the building eligible for individual listing on the National Register of Historic Places. In response, the BAR deferred the initial request for more details on SHPO’s determination and the feasibility of rehabilitating College Lodge.


Renderings from the 2020 report by Sottile & Sottile of College Lodge showing a new public plaza and mid-block passageway under the building (left), and elevated, outdoor student terrace (right) 

The 2020 analysis, produced by the Sottile & Sottile architectural firm at the request of the College, outlines a range of renovation and redevelopment strategies for College Lodge. The report demonstrates clear findings that adaptive use of the building is not only feasible, but financially responsible, sustainable, and responsive to community input. In light of SHPO’s recent determination that College Lodge meets the high bar required for National Register eligibility, this analysis carries added weight since it shows that there are alternatives for preserving the building.

Updated Downtowner buildings just like College Lodge remain in long-term use today in Savannah, Georgia and Cheyenne, Wyoming, just to name two. And seismic upgrades are made frequently in places like California, where there is a high concentration of Modernist architecture and earthquakes are common, including one recently renovated 1966 building on the University of California San Diego.

Read more about preservation alternatives for College Lodge in the summary, as well as the full 2020 report, which has been submitted for the record and now available for public review.


The PSC hopes to work with CofC on a solution for the site that meets its goals for seismic safety and celebrates the unique, historic character of College Lodge. We invite you to stand with us against the proposal for full demolition at this week’s BAR-L meeting.

The BAR-L will meet on Wednesday, April 24 at 4:30 P.M. in the public meeting room of the Gaillard Center at 2 George St. If you are unable to attend the meeting in person, consider submitting comments to the city’s portal by Tuesday at noon.

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