Harshman Demolition set to take place in late May to early June


Harshman Residence Hall

Ryan Luchene and Ryan Luchene

The University’s Harshman Residence Hall has been empty for months. Empty is how it will stay until its eventual demolition in the late spring or summer.

Harshman Residence Hall, named after former University President Ralph G. Harshman, has been around since the late 20th century. While it has been a part of campus history, it has become old and others feel like it is time to take it down. The buidling remained open due to demand for the 2016-2017 schoolyear, despite original plans to close in May 2016.

“The amount of deferred maintenance and upgrades required for the building greatly exceeded its value,” Barbara Shergalis, the director of design and construction and University architect, said.

In its height, Harshman housed abround 1200 students. In its final years of operation, it housed around 550. When the building closed for this school year, the 600 potential bed spaces were lost. The University made up about 190 of these spaces by leasing a few buildings through Greenbrier.

Currently, the team is putting together all the plans and the engineering documents for the buildings.

“Once that is finalized, we will put that out for bid and then when those bids come back we will review them,” Bruce Meyers, interim vice president of capital planning and campus operations, said. “We will ask the contractors ‘what’s included in your bid’ and if the bids are economical and we can do those things that are inside of the bid, then we can start that process.”

If the bids favor those in charge, the plan is to have all the dorm rooms emptied out some time in late April, with the demolition beginning in late May to early June. If the bids are not favorable, then the bid package will have to be changed, and they will have to rebid the demolition project, delaying the process by at least 60 days.

Once the demolition is done in the summer and the site is clear, the land will be graded, seeded and landscaped.

“We do not have a permanent plan for what will eventually be built on the Harshman site, so for now, we just plan to put in grass and landscaping,” Sherideen Stoll, the chief financial officer and vice president for finance and administration, said.

Though there are no current plans as far as what will take the place of Harshman, the team is looking at space and neighboring buildings as far as what residence halls and classrooms are nearby to see what could possibly be done with the land in the future.

The University Board approved the master plan for the demolition in 2010 and they have 24-36 weeks left in the plan. Those working on the demolition want a permanent provost hired and in place to participate in the master planning effort for the demolition. More info will be found out after the May Board of Trustees meeting.