Albert E. Warrens Center

Project Media:

Project Manager:

Image loading Gary Fowler


Jerry Price

Project Details:

Project Name:

Albert E. Warrens Center


Chico, CA


California State University, Chico


The HR Group Architects

Project Description:

The Albert E. Warrens Reception Center on the Chico State campus was originally designed as a residential structure by renowned architect Julia Morgan in 1923 for a local doctor. Julia Morgan was the first female architect licensed in California, and she is most famously known for her work on Hearst Castle. The house was sold to Chico State in 1945 for $25,000. The home was then used as the residence for university presidents until 1993. In 1999, the structure underwent renovations for the second time in 76 years. It was designated as a reception center, and named after local physician and University patron, Albert E. Warrens.

Fast forward to the summer of 2016, Modern Building began the careful historic renovation of the former President’s mansion. Prior to the start of construction, the proposed work to the house was reviewed and approved by the State Historic Preservation Office for compliance with guidelines related to state historic resources. The renovations to the house included refurbishment of all the exterior doors and windows, including the replacement of 1920’s-era glass with historic recreations, removal of the existing two-stop elevator, upgrades to the service kitchen, complete renovation of the existing hardwood floors, including replacement of damaged sections, complete replacement of all light fixtures and new paint throughout the first floor reception area, and door and window refurbishment on both floors.

The home exterior finishes were also repaired, including new stucco sections at areas of extensive water damage, and new paint throughout in a color commonly used on other Julia Morgan homes of the era. The backyard of the home received extensive renovation and upgrades, including new landscaping, concrete paving and pathways, site accent lighting, concrete and brick seat walls, and brick accent at the new patios. It should be noted that all of the exterior work was completed on schedule through one of the heaviest rainy seasons in recorded weather history. The first University event at the new center was held on March 6th, 2017, 94 years after the home was built.