Students may have noticed an empty lot on Howard Street recently, where straw is currently laid down. That would be because the University of Findlay has demolished four buildings on Howard St. and also one building on College St. Director of the Physical Plant, Orion Jones, said that the buildings, which were at 337, 341, 401, 403 Howard St. and 331 College St., were unoccupied and students had not been living in those buildings since before Jones came here last spring. Jones did look into the prospect of cleaning up and fixing those buildings, but it was not feasible for the university.
“[The buildings] were unoccupied and past the point of what would be financially feasible to re-invest money to revamp,” said Jones. “They were in danger, they were empty, and basically an empty, dangerous building on campus.”
The building at 331 College St. was just acquired by the university as it was the only building that they did not own. After purchasing the building, it was decided that it also could not be fixed. Jones would prefer to never have buildings on campus that have no purpose.
“It was in bad, disgusting conditions and there was no chance of ever putting anybody or anyone in there, from faculty and staff to students,” said Jones. “It’s a danger to have empty buildings on campus.”
The construction group All Excavating & Demolition of McComb was in charge of the demolition of all five of the buildings. Jones said that working with them was a great thing for the university, because they share the same vision Jones does in regards to sustainability.
“They recycle the majority of the material they take down in regards to the metal, even down to the brick, and the concrete foundations,” said Jones. “They really minimize what we take to the landfill and they do it in a very cost-effective manner.”
For now, the buildings on Howard and College Street are the only ones that were currently planned to be demolished. But the university is always thinking ahead and planning ahead for what might need to be done.
“[It’s] constant discussion, looking at our master plan, and looking [at] our future. We have some more abandoned houses, if it’s worth keeping them and trying to reutilize them or if it’s a danger and we have to get rid of them,” said Jones. “It faults back to asset management, return on investment, and condition of the house.”
As for current plans for those now empty lots, Jones does not have one. However, he encourages students to speak up if they do have ideas.
“Right now, we’re brainstorming and there’s no immediate action plans. We’ve looked at a couple different things. [We] looked at different housing and athletic options,” said Jones. “We’re in the planning stage and we’re acquiring information. If people have thoughts, plans, or ideas, bring them, let’s see what you got.”