UNCG Takes Heat for Plan to Raze Seven Buildings on Quad
By Margaret Foster | Online Only | Apr. 28, 2009
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) has delayed a decision to raze or renovate seven dormitories, completed between 1919 and 1923, on its historic quadrangle.
About 100 people attended a public forum Apr. 8, and more than 10 spoke out against demolition. Several current students attending the meeting did argue that the dorms are outdated. The university's board of trustees had planned to make a final decision on May 1, but "has delayed that decision so we can start putting together information," says university spokesman Steve Gilliam.
The Classical Revival-style dorms need about $32 million in deferred maintenance, according to the university.
Myrick Howard, president of Preservation North Carolina, called the deferred maintenance "disgraceful" in a letter this month to the board of trustees. "We hope someone asks why there is so much deferred maintenance on the Quad. … We have not confronted a proposal for wholesale demolition of campus buildings like this one in decades, largely because people now understand how wasteful such an approach is."
UNCG has estimated that whatever option it pursues—renovation or demolition—the cost will approach $100 million, a number that could shrink if the university takes advantage of historic tax credits.
"With the tax credits, they could save about 30 percent," says Erik Wishneff, vice president and general counsel of Brian Wishneff & Associates, a local consulting firm that specializes in historic tax credits. Wishneff, who works with other universities across the country, is scheduled to meet with university officials tomorrow. "Once they learned about this possibility of using tax credits, the university has seemed more open to learning about it."
Gilliam says that UNCG is launching a Web site this week that will give more information about plans for the Quad, and allow people to comment.
Already, many alumni have expressed concern about replacing Quad landmarks. "If you wipe out our memories and our connection to the school, then we won't care about the school and we won't give money," says alumnus Mike Stout, director of the northwest office of Preservation North Carolina. "You have a preservation program and you want to tear down seven buildings?"
Read the latest news about the Quad at http://www.presnc.org/Advocacy/UNCG-Quad
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