After the completion of the spring 2014 semester, Old Richmond Residential College is scheduled to be demolished to make room for the construction of a new residential college following approval of a plan by the Board of Regents.
The 53-year-old building and oldest residential college on campus is currently scheduled for demolition in May with construction of the new residential college to take place beginning January of 2015.
Kim Oatman, chief officer of Facilities Management, said the demolition of Old Richmond is part of the Student Housing Strategic Plan adopted by the Board of Regents.
“The demolition of all of the low-rise housing units is in the strategic plan for housing,” Oatman said. “As we construct new, we will demolish old. Lee Clark was the first low rise to be replaced, so old Clark was the first to be demolished. Old Richmond happens to be next in line.”
Included in the Student Housing Strategic Plan is the now ongoing $9.9 million renovation of Hester Residential College which is scheduled to be completed by next fall. In comparison, the estimated cost of demolition for Old Richmond is less than $300,000, although the bid will not be awarded until March.
Oatman said according to an architectural and engineering assessment of Old Richmond, it would be more cost effective to demolish the college than to renovate it like Hester.
He said to his knowledge there has never been an attempted renovation of Old Richmond to the magnitude which Hester is being restored.
The cost for construction of the new residential college to replace Old Richmond, if it is demolished, is estimated at almost $23 million, but this number is subject to change.
The demolition of Old Richmond and subsequent construction of a new residential college has not yet been approved by the board and other possibilities are still on the table. Oatman said one possibility would be to keep Old Richmond in service longer than 2014 in order to continue to serve as an overflow unit.
Among other things, a newly constructed residential college would include all new mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. It would be constructed like the new James H. Richmond Residential College, Murray State’s newest residential college, which opened in 2009, to be a more efficient user of energy and include more modern materials and finishes.
Oatman said it is likely that a new residential college would also include more beds to house more students.
This year, Old Richmond has also been home to residents of Hester while Hester undergoes its renovations. This has meant some students have accepted reduced housing costs in order to take on an additional roommate.
Tim Miller, interim president, said he wants students to live in the best conditions here on campus and while Hester’s renovation has forced students to live in some of the older residential colleges for this semester, he said they are working to make the dorms better, but that the process takes time.
Also scheduled but awaiting approval, is the demolition of Franklin Residential College set for May 2017, which would follow the renovation of White Residential College.
Story by Ben Manhanke, Assistant News Editor