Christian Higher Education Since 1892

Campus Update - FAQ

0

How did the college first acquire Bass-Mollett House and Archer Hall? What was the condition at the time? What did the college use the buildings for? Why was the property vacated?

Bass-Mollett

The mansion was built in 1892 for Charles Douglas Hoiles by Flavius Crocker, architect. The Dorothy Mollett family donated the house to Greenville College in 1983. The house had been converted for use as a publishing company and prior to that a funeral business. The college repurposed the building, and used it for upper division housing throughout the '90s. The aging building was in need of several repairs, and the heating, cooling and plumbing were inefficient for use as student housing. The cost for students to live in the building eventually outgrew the budget. It was vacated and considered as a potential site for an alumni house, but it proved too costly to renovate.

Archer

The original building, known as the Keith residence, was constructed in 1867. The house was added on to in the 1930s. Greenville College named Archer Hall, located at 210 North First Street, after Cyrus and Elizabeth Archer in a ceremony on October 20, 1978. As Kansas pioneers, Cyrus and Elizabeth Archer helped establish the Free Methodist Church in the Midwest. Their eight children and numerous grandchildren contributed greatly to the Free Methodist Church, Greenville College and Christian Higher Education.

Greenville College used Archer Hall to house the art department for many years before moving to the refurbished art center on Beaumont Avenue in 2002. Archer Hall also served as office space for advancement, alumni relations, marketing and a variety of student organizations. Systems and structures necessary to efficiently house employees are now outdated and need repair. The college acquired the Prairie Street Center in March and moved offices from Archer to the more efficient and comfortable building.

What was the process for deciding to tear down the buildings? Why now?

The college examined options for repurposing the buildings to fill current campus needs. 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 a new building.

An effort to restore the buildings in a timely manner could result in significant debt for the college. Currently, neither building contains the heating or cooling systems needed for efficient energy use. These outdated systems have resulted in excessive utilities and energy waste and led the college to discontinue use of these facilities. Maintaining a vacant building over a long period of time poses a potential liability. Attempting to raise funds for the renovation would reduce the money available for student services and academic programs.

The college purchased the Prairie Street Center, formerly the Bond County Health Department, in March which provides updated office space. Employees were moved to the Prairie Street Center to save costs.

In March, Greenville College also acquired an additional 44 acres of undeveloped property north of Bass-Mollett. The house sits at the connecting point between main campus buildings and the largest piece of college property.

Based on the current information, the board of trustees voted in the best interests of the college's mission and long-term institutional success.

Did Greenville College consider repurposing Bass-Mollett House or Archer Hall for use as dorms, offices or classrooms?

Yes. Campus officials reviewed several options for the Bass-Mollett House and Archer Hall that would fulfill current needs. In every case, the cost to repurpose the structures outweighed the cost of building new facilities.

Greenville College has a history of tearing down historic properties. Why has the college been unable to sustain these buildings?

The rapid deterioration of Hogue Hall led to its demolition. Key structural elements, including the bricks, used in the construction of the building had given way, and the college acted responsibly to ensure the safety of students and employees. It is also our understanding that some of the same bricks were used in constructing the Archer building.

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 to the community. The school uses the building for the president's office and the Bock sculpture museum which is open free of charge to the public.

Greenville College continues to remodel buildings throughout campus enhancing classroom space, adding security features, and making updates to comply with all state and federal codes. 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 remodeled the Prairie Street Center, formerly the Bond County Health Department, to house our intensive English learning program. A new walking trail and disc golf course opened in October for joint use by the college and community. The 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.

What are the plans for the property moving forward?

The Bass-Mollett property is the entry way to the new nature trail and disc golf course, and the house sits at the connecting point between main campus buildings and the largest piece of college property. We are excited to explore options that increase the use of this property by students and the community in the future.

As the college continues to grow, we hope to explore plans for the Archer Hall property that would serve as a benefit to Greenville College students, faculty and staff.

Did Greenville College consider gifting or selling Bass-Mollett House or Archer Hall to an individual or organization that would be able to save the property? How would the college respond to offers to purchase the property?

The property itself has added value to the college because of its location and size. To relinquish the property would be contrary to the college's long-term mission. The Bass-Mollett property is in a critical location at the apex between the existing campus and newly acquired land. It is also one of the highest locations in Bond County, a focal point for signature campus buildings.

Did the college attempt to work with preservation groups to determine alternatives for tearing down Bass-Mollett House or Archer?

There were no solutions that would off-set prohibitive restoration costs.

Did the college attempt to have the property added to the state or national historic registry? Was an attempt made by the college to secure state or federal preservation funding?

Greenville College explored avenues for additional money from government sources. Most funding came in the form of tax credits that provided little or no benefit to a nonprofit institution.

Has the college received any gifts earmarked for restoration of Bass-Mollett House or Archer Hall? If so, what will be done with these funds?

Since 2006, the college has received under $1,000 in donations from individuals interested in restoring the Bass-Mollett House. Greenville College will offer a full refund to donors who do not want those funds used for other campus projects. Please contact the advancement office at 664-6500. Some individuals have offered to donate money after the college commits to a restoration project, but anticipated costs would still result in a significant burden to the college.

We have received no gifts for the restoration of Archer Hall at this time.

What would it cost to restore Bass-Mollett House and Archer Hall?

The cost to renovate and sustain Bass-Mollett House would likely be near $2 million. We received preliminary estimates in excess of $1 million for the restoration of Archer Hall.

Was Bass-Mollett House or Archer Hall deemed structurally unsound or hazardous to those around it?

Potential environmental hazards were discovered not uncommon for a house from Bass-Mollett's era. The house currently poses no threat to the community. Inspections revealed that significant work was needed to remove and replace all mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems and to provide necessary structural support.

Archer Hall has been in use and maintained as a working facility. However, systems and structures necessary to efficiently house employees are outdated and need renovation. Useable space has been reduced over the past year due to needed repairs including a new heating system. At this time, it is more efficient for the college to use space in the recently acquired Prairie Street Center.

Does the college intend to salvage any items from the buildings?

The college is working with Slatton's Excavating to safely salvage items from the Bass-Mollett house. You may contact Chris Slatton at 618-781-7568 to inquire about items from the property. Family members removed contents from the Bass-Mollett house prior to donating it to the school.

The college is making an effort to retain any salvageable valuables and minimize waste during the razing of Archer Hall.