Demolition Of President Street Academic Center Postponed

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Photo credit: John Halley - Athens Messenger
Photo credit: John Halley – Athens Messenger

An Ohio University Board of Trustees discussion regarding the demolition of the President Street Academic Center has been postponed by the university due to “unforeseen site conditions.”

The trustees were slated to hold a joint meeting of their Academics Committee and Resources Committee on Thursday morning to discuss the project.

However, in an email to The Messenger on Tuesday, OU spokeswoman Katie Quaranta wrote, “Due to unforeseen site conditions that have negatively impacted the project budget, we are pulling PSAC from the joint session agenda for Thursday. This will give us time to better understand how we can address these issues prior to asking the board to vote on the project. We will be bringing the project back at a later meeting, but do not know exactly when.”

OU would not specify the nature of those site conditions.

As The Messenger previously reported, the university administration was seeking approval from the board to move forward with demolition of the building in May to make room for an expansion of the College of Business.

The structure was built in 1911 and was designed by prominent Ohio architect Frank Packard. The building has been vacant since 2003. OU says the structure is in poor condition and presents a safety risk. The building is said to have extensive water damage and mold growth throughout the shell and interior, as well as other issues.

Ohio University had proposed demolishing the building and transforming the site into green space until funding could be secured to expand the College of Business. The demolition was slated to be complete by Aug. 14.

The Athens City Historic Preservation Commission submitted a letter to Ohio University in January asking the university to reconsider razing the historic building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

According to Quaranta, the trustees will still meet in a joint session at 9 a.m. on Thursday in the Walter Hall Governance Room, but will instead discuss the university’s comprehensive master plan.