University demolishes building, plans to add lot

News Editor and News Editor

For more than 20 years, Campus Minister and Rev. Bill Thompson worked at the United Christian Fellowship on Thurstin Avenue, counseling students and helping them get involved in community service.

Now, the building, which stood across the street from the sorority houses and was constructed in 1963, has recently been torn down by the University and will be turned into a parking lot after two years of vacancy.

Aaron Kane, manager of Parking and Shuttle Services, said the new parking lot will add an additional 65 spaces as an extension of Lot F on the corner of Pike Street and Thurstin Avenue.

The lot will be designated for faculty and staff, and should ease the congestion in the commuter lot, which is used as overflow, he said.

Steve Krakoff, vice president of Capital Planning and Design, said it will also accommodate parking space needed for the buildings on that side of campus.

“It’s a good area for parking because of the high activity in the Union and Oaks,” Krakoff said.

Even though the building has been leveled, Thompson remembers the good times spent there.

“It had a lot of space,” he said. “During the holiday meals, you could gather a lot of people together.”

Thompson said he also enjoyed the community of students involved throughout the years and how their awareness of people in need grew when they participated in various programs.

All together, there would be a few hundred students involved in different programs throughout the year, Thompson said.

However, in the early 2000s, the funds began to dry up from the fellowship’s supporting organizations and they had to move to a smaller location a Crim Street in 2010, selling the building to the University.

But the United Christian Fellowship building is not the only building near campus that has been demolished this summer.

The University bought four properties on Wooster Street that have also been torn down, Krakoff said.

All five properties were bought between 2002 and 2010 for a total of $1,172,900 according to an email from Krakoff.

The properties bought on Wooster were a house and small apartment building next to the Popular Culture building, a house across from Campus Quarters and a house next to the Wooster Street Center, he said.

The buildings were in disrepair and they will be left as grass lots for now aside, Krakoff said.

Thompson said he understands the University’s decision in demolishing the properties.

“I know they want to make the south and west side of campus look as nice as possible,” Thompson said. “I don’t see how they could use the buildings for any other purposes.”