December 6, 2011
The Greenville College board of trustees released today their decision to raze the Bass-Mollett House and Archer Hall. The college examined options for repurposing the buildings to fill current campus needs, but the restoration costs proved to be prohibitive.
In the past year, Greenville College has met with architectural firms and completed inspections to properly assess the condition of these properties. The cost to renovate and sustain the structures would exceed the cost of erecting new buildings.
"Our decision was very difficult. While we appreciate the historical significance of the buildings, we will always focus resources first and foremost on our students," said Dennis Fenton, Greenville College board member. "Maintaining the buildings over a long period of time or attempting to raise money for the restoration would only diminish the funds available for academic programs, scholarships and student services."
An effort to restore the buildings in a timely manner would result in significant debt for the college with initial projections exceeding $2.5 million. Currently, neither building contains the heating or cooling systems needed for energy efficient consumption. The college regrets that these outdated systems have resulted in excessive utilities and energy waste that have led the college to discontinue use of these facilities. Retaining vacant buildings for an extended time also poses a liability for the college which cannot continue indefinitely. As the college continues to grow, it hopes to explore alternative plans for both properties that would better serve students and the surrounding community.
Greenville College continues to remodel buildings on campus by enhancing classroom space, adding security features, and making updates to comply with all state and federal codes. In 2002, the college refurbished the former Coast to Coast Hardware store on Beaumont Avenue to provide classrooms, offices, gallery and studio space for the art department. In 2005, Greenville College spent approximately $435,000 to restore Almira House because of its historical significance in the community. While the building houses the president's office, it also contains the Bock sculpture museum which is open weekdays free of charge to the public.
The college spent just under $4 million on renovations last summer. Projects included a complete renovation of Joy Hall, two new classrooms in the Dietzman Center, replacing the library roof and air conditioning system, and remodeling sections of Burritt Hall and Dallas Annex. The school also purchased and remodeled the Prairie Street Center, formerly the Bond County Health Department, to house our intensive English learning program, information technology and marketing departments. Just behind the Bass-Mollett building, in October, the college opened a beautiful new half-mile walking trail and disc golf course open daily free to the public. Greenville College plans to continue responsible investment in facilities and maintenance to offer the best possible service for students while providing an attractive setting for the community. "It is our desire to be the best neighbors possible in this community," stated President Larry Linamen. "It is our hope that the community will benefit from the hard work we are doing to upgrade our campus."
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