COLUMBIA, MO (KMIZ)
Mizzou officials announced Wednesday that the first phase of their demolition plan, which will remove nine buildings and other structures from campus, has begun.
Officials say the demolition will benefit the university, as millions of dollars saved will be reinvested in student education and research programs.
“We have two, London and Lobe Hall, we’ve already started fencing off the buildings, so we’re already in that process,” said university spokesman Christian Basi.
Several buildings such as the Parker, Read, Loeb and London halls will be demolished. Mizzou Nord will be emptied while the university is looking for a buyer.
“We realized we had millions of dollars in deferred maintenance, we started looking at whether we really need the buildings on campus, or can we put people in a better space that has been made more efficient to use. “, said Basi.
The university will save more than $93 million in repairs and maintenance and more than $2.5 million in annual operating costs.
And while several buildings should be demolished for safety reasons, one building has Mizzou students fighting for it to stay.
“Read Hall is ready to be saved, it doesn’t need to be demolished, there is absolutely money again to do the necessary operations,” said Katherine Hutinett, a first-year master’s student from story.
Hutinett is one of three women from the university to lead the Save Read Hall movement on campus. Jordan Pellerito and Bailey Martin are the other two students involved.
Hutinett said the university neglected to follow up on necessary maintenance.
The group’s petition has more than 3,000 signatures.
“In this neglect of maintenance over the past 20 years or so they have led to what is now a disservice to the Mizzou community,” Hutinett said.
Read Hall has historical significance in the state.
Read Hall was the first women’s dormitory on campus. In 1918 it was a flu hospital. Read Hall was also the first student center and home of the Maneater, the world’s first school of journalism. In 1942, Eleanor Roosevelt spoke about the importance of student unions at Read Hall.
The maintenance cost to repair Read Hall is approximately $4.5 million.
Hutinett said alumni raised more than $5 million for repairs, but the university says it will cost them millions to maintain, millions they could reinvest in student education.
“A lot of time, energy and thought has gone into these decisions, and we believe that ultimately we will be able to deliver more money for university priorities,” Basi said. .
Buildings will be replaced with green spaces for students to relax and enjoy the outdoor space.