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Community | Preserving U.S. Military Heritage



Shortly after BE observed Memorial Day, we traveled to Fredericksburg, Texas to attend a symposium centered on honoring the U.S. military how BE knows best: preservation. The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training hosted “Preserving U.S. Military Heritage”, a three-day symposium focused on military sites and features from World War II to the Cold War (1939-1991). Conservators, architects, engineers, museum and site managers from across the nation came together to discuss efforts to save or adapt important features of military heritage.

Robin Whitehurst, one of BE’s historic preservation leaders, presented a poster on the restoration of the Urbana Armory. The Urbana Armory was built in 1938 and is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Originally built to house a cavalry unit of the Illinois National Guard, the historic armory required restorations to maintain the facility and didn’t meet the Anti-Terrorism / Force Protection (AT/FP) standards. The BE team designed a three-story interior addition, fully integrated within the original building. Laminated fiberglass reinforcing mesh was installed to the interior side of the exterior walls, preserving the art moderne details cast into the exterior surface. Furthermore, the insulation was replaced with a spray foam insulation solution, tripling the R-value of the walls and assisting the project to achieve LEED Gold certification.

The Urbana Armory is a prime example of National Guard heritage in Illinois. The style served as a prototype for others in the state and the preservation effort has won awards from the Association of Licensed Architects, the Preservation and Conservation Association of Champaign, and the National Guard Bureau.

Robin was able to share this project’s success with like-minded professionals who dedicate their time towards honoring the legacy of the U.S. military through preserving or documenting artifacts such as bases, war machines, home front sites, remembrances, and military materials. Robin and the BE team have completed multiple projects with the National Guard, both preservation and new construction, and we are proud to be a part of a community dedicated to support military heritage.