[image-2] The Charleston Parks Conservancy took the next step on upgrades in Hampton Park on Thursday, receiving initial approval from the Board of Architectural Review to renovate and rebuild portions of historic buildings in the popular downtown park for community use, including a grand new public building that will be known as Jubilee Hall.

“These improvements will allow more residents to use and enjoy one of the city’s most beloved parks,” said Harry Lesesne, executive director of the Charleston Parks Conservancy, in a press release about the planned construction last month.

Thursday’s approval clears the way for additional work to be done on the historic caretaker’s house and stable grounds which Charleston police and local carriage companies discontinued use of in recent years. [image-1] [image-3] Plans for the new Jubilee Hall show it on the grounds of the existing stable and surrounding work areas alongside the Mary Murray Boulevard loop inside Hampton Park. Renderings show a new tall, rustic, slightly modern building that is vaguely reminiscent of the existing stable building that will be demolished.

Plans also call for an adjoining outdoor porch, event lawn, and small formal garden all built around the existing caretaker’s cottage that’s also set to be renovated. A new parking facility will also connect it with the existing ballpark parking lot at the corner of Rutledge Avenue and Grove Street.

The proposed building was designed by architect David Thompson.

In addition to functioning as a public gathering place, the Parks Conservancy says the space will also be available for private events such as weddings, meetings, or classes. Public restrooms will also be included in the new building. The existing caretaker’s house, a small white home nearby, will also be renovated to include a historical exhibit of the park.

The building’s name, Jubilee Hall, is derived from a slavery-era term that described the time of approaching freedom, according to the Parks Conservancy. “It is this spirit of freedom and jubilation that the Conservancy would like to bring to Charleston with this new community center,” the group says.

A timeline for the hall’s completion will be nailed down once the building’s construction is priced and plans are finalized.
[image-4] [image-5]The Parks Conservancy began work on upgrades to a nearby concession stand last month after it has sat mostly unused for years. The reworked outdoor space the group is calling the Rose Pavilion will serve as a community gathering place and will include an outdoor seating terrace and heirloom rose garden. Construction is expected to wrap up in January, 2019.

In 2015, the City of Charleston granted the Conservancy a 25 year lease on the old snack bar and area around the old caretaker’s house and stable grounds.

Hampton Park has a long and varied history in Charleston, serving as a prison camp, horse track, and the site of the 1901 Charleston Exposition. The park is named for Confederate officer Wade Hampton, a wealthy Charleston native who became governor in 1876 after a campaign marked by paramilitary violence used to suppress black voters.