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Antioch College

Through a state grant program providing funds for demolition of residential and commercial properties, Antioch College will receive just over $100,000 to aid in tearing down the 65-year-old student union building, which has been eyed for demolition since 2013. The college aims to save the building’s “stoop,” pictured. (Photo by Jessica Thomas)

Antioch College gets grant to demolish old student union

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Antioch College is slated to receive just over $100,000 from the State of Ohio to help fund the demolition of its original student union building. The grant comes via the Ohio Building Demolition and Site Revitalization Program, which was launched in December of last year.

The program, administered by the Ohio Department of Development, was funded as part of House Bill 110, last year’s biennium budget bill. Through the program, a minimum of $500,000 was offered to all of Ohio’s 88 counties for the demolition of both residential and commercial properties.

The $500,000 allotted to Greene County is administered by the County’s Department of Development. Municipal governments were responsible for forwarding applications for suitable projects to the County.

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Bob McKee, Antioch College’s vice president of finance, told the News last week that Village Manager Josué Salmerón encouraged the college to consider one of its buildings for a demolition grant, and submitted the grant application on the college’s behalf.

“The Village and the college worked together to seek the funds,” he said.

Salmerón, who also spoke to the News last week, said he was alerted to the grant funding in January, but that no program guidelines were available at that time. In anticipation of a “competitive” field of applications, he said he put in some “preliminary work with the County” before the application process began. Out of 11 applications countywide, the student union demolition project was one of eight to be selected for funding.

The former student union building was built in 1957, and has been eyed for demolition since 2013, when the college announced it would be torn down. Reasons for its planned demolition included “extensive mold and large roof leaks, resulting in extensive damage,” according to an announcement from the college in October of that year. No proposed date was set at the time of announcement due to the high projected cost of demolition, according to a November 2013 News report.

McKee said the college identified the student union building as a possibility for the grant because it is “obviously in need of demolition.”

“Where it borders several village residences, it’s a concern for us,” he said. “We’re looking forward to continuing to revitalize the campus, not only for us but the whole community.”

According to McKee, the college was given verbal notification from the County that the funds would be paid out in June of this year; according to the terms of the grant, demolition must be completed by May of 2023. He added that the grant won’t cover the cost of demolition in its entirety, and that the college will need to raise additional funding to complete the project.

“We are engaging a firm to verify a [total cost],” McKee wrote via email. “Our planning assumption is a need for an additional $300,000–$450,000 in funds.”

McKee said the college aims to work with the Village in order to ensure an “open and transparent process for info distribution,” and that Antioch College President Jane Fernandes will create a task force to obtain input on what’s next for the site of the demolished building.

He also said that the college will save the student union’s “stoop” — a place where many alumni have fond memories — and that the college will work to “reclaim the bricks of the building.”

“We’re going to do our best to be a sustainable campus,” McKee said.

Salmerón said the Village had considered another property — a residence on South High Street — for demolition funding, but decided against it as its owners have already engaged a contractor for its demolition.

“I don’t think the County would have been as supportive [of demolishing the High Street property] because it’s residential and it was going to be demolished either way,” he said.

Greene County Development Director Eric Henry told the News this week that the demolition of the student union building was chosen for funding “because of its redevelopment value to the village and its residents.”

“Our department has a great relationship with Josué and the Village team, [who] were able to get us the information we needed to put together a strong application,” he said. “We are particularly grateful for the assistance of Johnnie Burns, director of public works, who fast-tracked our department the information we needed to submit to the State on time.”

Henry said that the County itself will “put up the costs for the [demolition] projects,” with the State to reimburse the funds, adding that the “numbers are still subject to change until accepted by the state.”

Other Greene County properties selected for demolition grants are in Beavercreek, Caesarscreek Township, Cedarville, Fairborn and Xenia. At $102,438, the funds for the student union demolition are the third-highest to be allotted by Greene County, behind $126,482 to tear down an industrial building in Cedarville and $126,761 to remove the building that housed Fulmer Supermarket, which closed in 2010, in the Xenia Towne Square shopping complex. Both of those properties will also require matching funds from other entities in order to fully fund demolition.

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3 Responses to “Antioch College gets grant to demolish old student union”

  1. Seymour Wheeler says:

    The building still stands, and as of today Birch has black mold and students living in it. No professional remedy etc. Early this year due to flooding a roof leak poured water (kiddie pools full) into students rooms. Students were removed however third floor was closed and students remain on second floor. You can visually see the Black mold. Will Antioch ever be responsible with the upkeep of infrastructure. It has been months and no remedy provided.

  2. Steven Snyder says:

    The worst pizza I ever had was my first meal at the Student Union — upon first bite the meager topping slid off the cardboard thin bread and landed in a small greasy heap. But I also have many good memories of the Union, such as in Spring 1979 when a cute girl at my table picked up a piece of lemon meringue pie and smashed it into my friend’s face, sending pie projectiles everywhere. Not long after that, this student became my girlfriend and a few years later, my wife. Jean Eglinton and I are still happily married. A few months ago I made a brief visit back to campus and was dismayed to see how many buildings were in poor repair, especially the Union and the Main Building. What’s the next building to fall?

  3. David Marks says:

    This news brings back a lot of memories for me! My first year at Antioch was the 1959-60 year and I didn’t realize back then that the Antioch student union was almost brand new. When I was on campus I worked part time as a cashier on the cafeteria lunch lines, and got my mail there in the union, sometimes played pool upstairs, went to the C-Shop, etc.

    My first date at Antioch was to a girl whose parents operated the Antioch Inn, which was to the left of the Student Union (the left end on the photo that’s in the article). One day, she got an entire cheesecake from the Inn, and we sat out on the lawn, pretty much devouring it, lol.

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