West Virginia Wesleyan College dorm demolition nearing completion | WV News
BUCKHANNON — While students have been home enjoying their summer break, West Virginia Wesleyan College has been finishing up some major changes to campus.
One is the demolition of Camden Hall dormitory, which officials have been planning and preparing for over the past three to four years, according to Scott McKinney, chief financial officer at the college.
The demolition, which will cost over $100,000, is scheduled for completion before the beginning of the fall semester, when students will be able to enjoy a new green space where the dormitory once stood.
“We would hope everything will just be back to normal by the end of July because student athletes will be returning,” McKinney said.
McKinney said the college also has renovated several houses nearby that will be used as off-campus housing, so there will be no issues with having enough student living space.
“The big renovations to provide additional living spaces were in places like Meade Street, and there is another one on College Avenue and Baxter Street,” he said. “We had multiple houses that we had to completely renovate, install sprinkler systems, those sorts of things, to get them up to code for commercial occupancy.”
McKinney said the college is expected to offer six of these houses to students for the coming year, with plans to add more in the following terms.
Larry Orman, marketing director for the college, said although the Camden Hall demolition has cost the college money, it will reduce expenses tremendously in the future.
“This was an obsolete dorm that was taking considerable attention,” he said. “By taking this dorm off-line, it is going to reduce our maintenance costs.”
Other dorms received attention this summer as well, including general maintenance such as paint touch-ups. But Orman said no major changes were made to residence halls.
After nearly four decades of being a housing option for West Virginia Wesleyan College students, Camden Hall had been called home by thousands of students.
Emily Kroll, a 2019 Wesleyan graduate, was one of the last students to live in the dorm.
“I think it definitely needed renovated,” she said. “It is kind of sad; we had a lot of good memories there. It provided an opportunity for people to hang out in an apartment-style place, but it was definitely time.”
Kroll said she is looking forward to seeing how the college uses the new open space on campus, as well the money saved from shutting down a dormitory.
“It sounds like they are not rebuilding anything, so I’m interested to see if they will put more funding back into the other dorms,” Kroll said.
Kroll said while there are premium dorms available on campus, there is quite a bit of work that could be done on the older dorms.
“The premium dorms are relatively nice, so I would hope they don’t put any more money into those,” she said. “The other dorms do need some work.”
Kroll also said she’s not sure that additional green space is the best option for using the Camden Hall location; she hopes that in the future, college officials will eventually turn the location into something new.
“There is other green space on campus,” she said. “I think it is sad to see the apartment-style go, especially since they don’t like people to live off-campus. I think it was a good space for upperclassmen to have some freedom.”
Allison Haertter, who also graduated last semester, said it is disappointing to see apartment-style housing no longer being offered at Wesleyan.
“It is a little sad,” she said. “It was nice to have a place where a bunch of other people were living, so you could just go down the hall and see someone else’s apartment.”
While there are currently no plans to build anything new at the Camden Hall location, McKinney said it may be used for something else in the future. He said because there is enough housing to fill student demand, the college will not be building new facilities for the time being.
Along with tearing down Camden Hall, the college will be finishing up a $2.2 million renovation project on the library, as well as building an E-sports facility for the school’s new competitive gaming team.
“It’s a pretty exciting time here,” McKinney said. “It has kind of flown underneath the radar, but they have put in a lot of work in on the facilities over the last few years.”