By DAVID DUPONT
BG Independent News
Bowling Green State University trustees Friday (Dec. 8) approved the demolition of Harshman.
The dorm has long been on the list of buildings to raze, and the trustees’ action Friday gave final approval.
However, Sheri Stoll, vice president for finance, said that the project is proving to be more expensive than originally thought.
Her initial estimate to trustees was about $1.5 million. The resolution approved Friday pegs the cost of the project at $2.3 million. Stoll held out the possibility that the project may be even more expensive.
“It’s not a simple building to take down,” she said. Harshman has four distinct wings around a central, circular structure.
“We may be pretty far off from what this estimate is,” Stoll said. If the bid comes in at 10 percent more than the projected cost, a Plan B will have to be developed, she said. What that plan may look like she wasn’t sure.
Harshman still houses call centers for fundraising campaigns. Those are expected to be moved to 400 East Poe Road in February.
Once those are relocated, bids will go out and the university will proceed with the demolition. The goal is to have work done in spring, so any landscaping can be completed in summer.
The site will be graded and seeded. The work will be minimal since the future use of the site is still being considered. “The idea is to buy ourselves some time as we move into next phase of planning,” Stoll said. “We’d like to have that site as clear as possible and available.”
The site is “a very desirable corner,” she said.
The university is working on a phase 2 of its campus master play. It is also currently doing a study on its future need for residence halls.
The visibility of the corner argues against just keeping the building, or part of it, up for temporary storage. Also, while not large, there is a cost to maintaining even an empty building.
Still “it doesn’t feel very good to spend that kind of money to demolish something,” Stoll said. There’s not a lot of return on investment in demolition, she said. “It’s a disappointment.”
The university decided that the building was not worth saving. Aside from minor improvements to enhance Wi-Fi in the building nothing has been done since 2009.
Documents provided to the trustees report, it has $28 million in deferred maintenance needs. Harshman was built in 1964. The 292,000-square-foot structure last housed students in spring, 2017.
Stoll said that the building will not be imploded, a question that’s been asked after a failed demolition of the old Silverdome in Detroit.
As with the recent razing of West Hall and the Family and Consumer Science building, the structures are knocked down in place.
“We recycle to the greatest extent possible,” Stoll said. Some materials do have value.
The trustees also approved a right-of-way for the city and the state along East Wooster as part of the road improvement project.
The project involves relocating utilities, improving pedestrian and bicycle travel, and the installation of roundabouts. The right of way extends from Alumni Drive east to Dunbridge Road.
Stoll said the university will receive no remuneration for the right-of-way because the university will benefit from the traffic improvements, especially for pedestrians, and landscaping along its property.