Centennial, Miller on track for demolition

Category:  News
Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020 at 7:35 PM
Centennial, Miller on track for demolition  by Shayma Musa
Photo: Sydney Keefer

Edinboro is preparing to demolish campus buildings Centennial Hall and Miller Hall, though an exact date hasn’t been decided. Kristen Brockett, manager of communications at Edinboro, confirmed the razing of the facilities to The Spectator.

Rumors concerning Centennial and Miller have been present for years, with PASSHE Board of Governors (BOG) meeting notes referencing possible demolition back as far as early 2015. It was then that Edinboro had approached the state system in order to request funding for the process.

Centennial Hall was built in 1960 and functioned as a dormitory before it was closed to student living in 2004. It was then that PASSHE began to require sprinklers for all student dormitories.

In a 2016 interview with The Spectator, former Edinboro communication director Jeff Hileman said, “It would take a rebuild of Centennial (in order to comply with new PASSHE sprinkler regulations), and it’s not really suited…for anything but a residence hall.” He went on to say, “[It’s] the type of residence hall that is not very appealing to students.” In the same article, it was also stated that plans were made for the demolition of the building.

Centennial then functioned as office space after that, including housing The Spectator for a period, and closed for use in 2016.
Miller, formally Miller Research Learning Center, was built in 1971 and functioned as a child care center.

Brockett did not give a projection for how much demolition of both buildings would cost, but did state that the cost “will be covered by the state.”
A publicly-available EU document, titled “Edinboro University facilities deferred maintenance and capital improvement projects,” dated Jan. 26, 2018, listed the two buildings’ demolition with an estimated cost of $2 million.

Because Edinboro is a state school, its property is owned by the state system, making it eligible for a Commonwealth Capital Fund grant awarded to PASSHE via the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

According to a PASSHE document, titled “Procurement of Facilities Projects,” the General Assembly awards PASSHE $70 million annually for facilities projects at the state schools.

PASSHE then allocates this funding to BOG-approved projects through their five-year spending plan. Universities can supplement the money granted through the Commonwealth Capital funded projects with institutional funds.

The 2019 list of Commonwealth Capital funded projects includes the demolition of underutilized and obsolete buildings at Edinboro University. No buildings are specifically named under this line, however, PASSHE has allowed $12 million for these demolitions at Edinboro.

A note on the list reads that this cost has been added under the PASSHE 2019/2020 fiscal year spending. The note also reads that proposals from design companies were due Jan. 17. The list of projects is publicly available on the PASSHE website.

Other PASSHE schools that applied for demolition funds from the grant included West Chester ($1 million), Millersville ($500,000), Lock Haven ($4 million), IUP ($2.2 million), Cheyney ($5.6 million), and California ($4.9 million).

“These funds are dependent on the project that they are granted for,” said Bob Unger, director of construction management for PASSHE. “Proposals from design companies were due Friday, but we probably won’t be accepting bids from contractors for the demolition until no earlier than this summer.”

According to Unger, a design firm must be contracted to access any hazardous materials or areas of the building, while they then create a plan for the demolition team.

Commonwealth Capital funded projects are legally mandated to be completed by the Commonwealth’s Department of General Services (DGS). This department has the authority to decide on the contractor that will complete any project.

As of publication, no word is yet out on which contractor has been decided on for the demolition of ‘Boro buildings.

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