EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSPlan To Tear Down WVSU Dorms Causes Controversy
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Dave Benton
Web Producer: Heath Harrison
Reported: Aug. 4, 2013 4:53 PM EDT
Updated: Aug. 5, 2013 10:44 AM EDT
Institute , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Aging residence halls at West Virginia State University are in the middle of a controversy. While historians want to preserve them, school officials have other plans.
The plan is to tear down Prillerman and Gore halls and build a suite-style student housing facility, with close to 300 beds, study halls and an eat-and-go diner.
Preservationists are asking the school to renovate its aging residence halls instead of tearing them down.
The new suite-style student-housing facility would be the first new dormitory since 1969.
The Charleston Gazette reported that Deputy State Preservation Officer Susan Pierce urged the school in a June 24 letter to reconsider its plan.
Pierce said in her letter letter that both existing dorms are eligible for inclusion on the national register of historic places.
The Preservation Alliance of West Virginia and the Kanawha Valley Historical and Preservation Society made a similar plea in a July 28 letter.
WVSU Vice President Melvin Jones said the buildings are no longer suitable for dorm space. He said renovating them would be cost-prohibitive.
Neci Pikens, a resident director at Dawson Hall, said a state-of-the-art dorm is long needed.
“I'm alum,” Pikens said. “There were waiting lists to stay on campus. That's how interesting the atmosphere was here. That's what this new residence hall is going to do to - bring that life and spirit back to West Virginia State.”.
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