By DAVID DUPONT
BG Independent News
When David Levey, Bowling Green State University Class of 1971, bid goodbye as his term on the Board of Trustees ended last year, he had one regret: Harshman Quadrangle was still standing.
As part of his farewell tour as chair of the trustees, he told the Faculty Senate that when he returned to campus as a trustee after almost 40 years away and saw his old dorm still in place, he almost turned around and headed back to Akron.
“It was a dump when I lived in it,” he said.
Levey gets his wish this summer, as demolition of the 54-year-old dorm began this week. It’s testament to its durability that it has taken several years after its death certificate was signed for the building to bite the dust.
The last residents, of what was now called a residence hall, not a dorm, moved out. Service lines had to be moved. Offices that had moved temporarily into its halls, found new homes. The stuff that’d been stored there removed.
Sheri Stoll, the university’s chief financial officer, fretted about how high the bill would be – demolition, she told trustees has a low return on investment. Now the excavators and bulldozers have moved in, and the walls are tumbling down.
Bob Boucher, senior project manager for the university’s Office of Construction and Design, expects the demolition project will take a good part of the summer – “barring other issues.”
“You never know what you’ll run into,” he said.
Originally the expectation was that Harshman could be down by the end of July. But that was extended until August “just knowing the way things go and factoring in unknown situations.”
Stoll pegged the cost of the demolition at $2.3 million. She was concerned that might not be enough because of the complexity of taking down the 292,000-square-foot structure with four wings connected by a circular building in the center.
The demolition is being done by Klumm brothers, of Holland. Touchstone CPM is the construction manager on the job,
Boucher said the project has a number of alternates, including expanding a nearby parking lot and putting in landscaping. Also, it’s possible the parking lot on Mercer will be taken out to make that corner of campus more attractive. That will all depend on how much is left in the project’s contingency fund.
When students return in August the site will be still be cordoned off, he said, and the road will still be closed.
“We won’t be totally out of here until first few weeks of November,” Boucher said. “By fall it’ll be regraded and reseeded.”
The site’s future use is still being determined. The university is studying what its future needs will be for residence halls.
Harshman, named for university President Ralph Garling Harshman, came on line just as Baby Boomers started flooding campus. It was preceded by Conklin in 1960 with McDonald and Kreisher opening a few years later.
Little has been done in the building. Improvements to enhance Wi-Fi connectivity in the building were done in 2009. Last December, trustees were told it has $28 million in deferred maintenance needs. Harshman last housed students in spring, 2017, and that was in just one section.