Tear down or save campus buildings?
Written by JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN Sentinel-Tribune Editor
Saturday, 22 June 2013 07:18
Bowling Green State University Trustees Friday tried to weigh the value of renovating historic building against the possible savings of bulldozing them and starting from scratch.
The trustees were faced with two resolutions for the preliminary costs to gut the aging Moseley, University, Hanna and South halls before renovating them. The pre-construction services came to $3.4 million, while the engineering costs to replace antiquated infrastructure came to another $2 million.
"Is it really worth it, or should we just tear those down," questioned board president Bill Primrose. "Is it really worth our dollars to try to save these?"
Some defended the expense.
"This is the heart and soul of the school," board member David Levey said. "I think they're worth saving."
But Primrose noted the long neglect of the structures. "They were dilapidated old classrooms when I was here," he said.
Board trustee Dan Keller agreed the university needs to be watchful of spending, and may want to compare the cost of renovating to starting new.
Sheri Stoll, chief financial officer for BGSU, said officials working on the overall building plan for the campus had the same concerns.
"I will admit, we did ask that question among the team," Stoll said. But the historic significance of the buildings is great since nearly every student to attend BGSU has had classes in the halls.
"They define our campus," board member Betty Montgomery said.
The board voted to proceed with renovations of the four buildings.
Also on Friday, the trustees heard an update on the overall building plan for the campus adding up to nearly $200 million.
The plans include spending $4.5 million to renovate the former Huntington Bank building in the BGSU Research Park on the east side of Interstate 75. Updates to the building will allow 125 to 140 employees from the Administration Building to be relocated there so the Administration Building can be torn down earlier.
Other plans discussed on Friday included:
• Spending $5.65 million on a "Math Emporium" in Olscamp Hall, which will have 200 seats of open area with the latest technology. "This is going to be, I think, a game-changer for BGSU," Stoll said.
• Creation of more large classrooms, able to handle 50 to 75 students. The number of classrooms on campus is expected to drop from 191 to 125, Stoll said.
• The need to schedule more late afternoon and evening classes, to use classroom space more efficiently.
• Efforts for energy conservation which will result in 10 to 50 percent reduction in energy usage.
• Plans to tear down the Education Building and West Hall.
• Plans to build a new business building; turn Hayes Hall into a math stats and computer science building; expand University Hall to the east; and turn South Hall into a media and communications building. Memorial Hall may house architecture and design, and Eppler may house education and human development.
"This is a bold initiative," Levey said of the building plan. "This is going to transform our campus."
BGSU officials hope the building changes will help with student recruitment and retention. The costs will be paid for with tuition, capital contributions from the state, donations and capital markets.