FEMA Public Notice - Merrill Hall and the Alumni House


Environmental Planning & Historic Preservation
FEMA Region IV Office
3003 Chamblee Tucker Road
Atlanta, GA 30341
Section 106 Condition
Public Notice
PA-04-AL-4362- PWs 65 and 92
Jacksonville State University

Memorandum To: File
FEMA EHP Reps:  Leslie Johansen
Date: 07/17/2019
Applicants: Jacksonville State University
Project ID: PA-04-AL-4362- PWs 65 (Merrill Hall) and 92 (Alumni House)

Subject Memo:  Public Notice of Section 106 Consultation Process for Merrill Hall and the Alumni House at JSU Campus

This Public Notice is provided in reference to the demolition of the following Jacksonville State University (JSU) Campus structures: Merrill Hall located at 57 Edwards Street, Jacksonville, AL (33.828624, -85.763093) and Alumni House located at 11 Roebuck Waters Street NE, Jacksonville, AL (33.822728, -85.762094). Notice is provided to satisfy the public involvement component of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), which includes providing the public with information about the project and its effects on historic properties, seeking public comment and input, and a consultation process as described below. 

Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA), the project recipient, and Jacksonville State University, the project sub-recipient, submitted an application for a demolition and reconstruction project funded by FEMA under the Public Assistance (PA) Grant program. 

On March 19th, 2018, an EF-3 tornado damaged multiple buildings throughout the Jacksonville State University campus. The Alumni House sustained severe roof damage and was shifted off its foundation. Campus engineers assessed the integrity of the building and determined the damage sustained as irreparable. The structure was deemed a threat to life and safety and was demolished as a result. During demolition, the original wood floors, interior and exterior doors, decorative molding and detailed wood finishings were salvaged. In addition, commemorative bricks, walkways and parking lots were left unscathed. 

Merrill Hall also sustained severe damage to the roof and interior as a result of water intrusion and damage to the concrete façade, and to the windows of the rotunda and classroom wings. As a result of this damage, JSU has decided to demolish Merrill Hall.  The lobby mosaic has been salvaged. JSU has a plan to replace both buildings in the same locations incorporating salvaged pieces from each structure into the replacement design; however, construction plans are currently in progress and once FEMA has this information FEMA will consult with interested parties on the new construction designs.


Per the regulations of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA; 36 CFR § 800) FEMA, as the funding agency, is required to identify any properties within the project area that are listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP); to assess the effects the undertaking will have on historic properties; and to seek ways to avoid, minimize, or mitigate any adverse effects.  FEMA evaluated the potential for the undertaking to effect historic properties and determined that Alumni House and Merrill Hall were eligible for listing in the National Register under Criterion C.  FEMA initiated consultation with Alabama Historical Commission, State Historic Preservation Office (AL SHPO) on August 27, 2018. During consultation it was determined that the demolition of Alumni House and the proposed demolition of Merrill Hall adversely affect historic properties in accordance with 36 CFR 800.4(d) (2).  Through an abbreviated consultation process, as defined in Stipulation (IX.C.) of the Alabama State Programmatic Agreement signed December 18, 2013, a phase I archaeological survey of the Alumni House property and a campus-wide Cultural Resources Survey to include photo-documentation of Merrill Hall before demolition, were agreed upon treatment measures to mitigate adverse effects.   

Section 106 requires FEMA to invite the public to participate in the resolution of adverse effects in accordance with Section 106 [NHPA: 36 CFR § 800.6(a)(4)].  Comments are solicited from the public; local, state or federal agencies; and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of the proposed project. The comments should be made in writing and addressed to by writing to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Region 4, 3003 Chamblee-Tucker Road, Atlanta, Georgia 30341, calling 770-220-5432, or by emailing FEMA-R4EHP@fema.dhs.gov  All comments are due within 15 days of this notice.

Interested persons may obtain information about these actions or a specific project by contacting:

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Region 4
3003 Chamblee-Tucker Road,
Atlanta, Georgia 30341


Posted On: 08/13/2019