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University President’s home to be renovated

The BGSU Foundation, Inc., a charitable foundation that handles all private donations and gifts to the University, has announced plans of a $750,000 upgrade to the president’s house, located at 625 Hillcrest Drive in Bowling Green.

The house, built in 1960 and purchased by the University in 1963, was initially built for the purpose of being a family home, according to Kim McBroom, the University’s associate vice president in the office of marketing and communications. The residence was last renovated in 1974.

“The problem in the house has become being able to hold official functions,” she said. “The home was built to house the president and their family, and it’s required of any incumbent president to reside there. It’s also required, though, that they host official functions there, and the current state of the house is unequipped to do so.”

Current President Sidney Ribeau has lived in the house since his arrival here in 1995. The house has also been the home of former presidents William Jerome, Hollis Moore, Michael Ferrari and Paul Olscamp.

The University has contracted the architectural firm Normand/Associates Architects, of Perrysburg, to begin determining what McBroom called the scope of the project. The house has been empty since November, when the beginnings of the project — from carpet being torn up to walls being removed — took place.

McBroom said the Foundation will cover $750,000, plus financing, which is yet to be determined. The contributions the Foundation will be using will be the earnings from the unrestricted operating account, and that they will be looking for no further funding. She also said that gifts made for a specific purpose will not be used.

Jeff Normand, the owner of the architectural firm, said that there is no approved plan for the future of the house as of yet. He also said he would like to start construction soon. The house first needs to have its basic parts updated, as many of the essentials are outdated, he added.

“It’s a house from the ’60s, so many of the basics of the house — the heating, cooling and electrical wiring — need updated first,” Normand said. “We’ve been focusing on those parts first, in our early work on the house. We’re trying to make it into a house of the 21st century. It’s vinyl-sided, another characteristic of an old house, and the roof needs a lot of work done, as well.”

Completely re-doing the house is a possibility, according to Normand.

“Like I said, there are fundamental things that need updated and replaced in the house,” he said. “Oftentimes, you may spend more money by renovating a house than you would by knocking it down and starting over. I would say that’s a definite possibility.”

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