By LEAH WANKUM
(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) – Selmo Park, the longtime home to University of Central Missouri presidents, will be demolished.
The UCM board of governors decided Thursday to remove the 150-year old house at Selmo Park. The board voted for the demolition because members thought the $2 million price tag for repairs and restoration was too costly.
“We do not feel it’s appropriate to spend these funds,” said Marvin “Bunky” Wright, president of the board. “The facility shall be removed and the area designated as a green area on campus until different or appropriate use by the university be given.”
Wright said designated items will be removed and preserved or utilized by the university.
Observations of potential settling and structural movement of the house led the university to contact Burns & McDonnell to assess the facility in early April. Shortly after, rain flooded the Warrensburg area, leading to severe flooding in the Selmo Park basement. Some 8 inches of sewage and storm water entered the basement.
The board discussed the future of the property last month and its need for restoration. At the time, Burns & McDonnell engineers provided an evaluation of the home, garage, gazebo, driveway and grounds. Recommendations included providing better drainage to the basement, removal of mold from the residence’s interior, tuck-pointing 7,500 square feet of the exterior wall, and other items. The recommendations would make the historic home safe to live in.
Nevertheless, board members agreed that university funds should be spent in ways that directly benefit the students, even though there are nostalgic ties to the house at Selmo Park.
“Spending $2 million on an 1866 structure that does not directly benefit students, and will continue to require ongoing maintenance, is simply not fiscally responsible at a time when state financial support needed to meet our educational goals is declining,” Wright said.