Board decides to demolish Selmo Park


Managing Editor

(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.

Posted by on August 22, 2014. Filed under Arts & Events. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

6 Responses to Board decides to demolish Selmo Park

  1. J Reply

    August 25, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Odd that no consideration was made for doing a less extensive, and costly, renovation. Gives the impression that the whole thing was already a “done deal” and other plans were already in the works.

  2. David Reply

    August 27, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    I look forward to the new athletics building that will no doubt be built on the site.

  3. Velma Urban Reply

    August 28, 2014 at 2:03 am

    As an alumni of the college and a history buff I find the decision to tear down Selmo a disgrace. Selmo should be preserved at all costs because of its historical significance not only to the college but to Warrensburg. A fund drive should be held to raise the funding to restore but guess that never entered the Board’s collective heads.

  4. Gerald Brockman Reply

    September 27, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Born and raised for 72 years in Warrensburg and an alumni I feel this is a disgrace to the town and the alumni. The college has torn down many historical homes and sites in Warrensburg. This is just one more bad decision!

  5. Emma Lou Diemer Reply

    January 18, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    It is a terrible decision. I’ve written a long letter about Selmo Park to the Muleskinner. An excerpt: “My thoughts are not only sentimental ones–warm memories of family life and of the pleasure that students and visitors expressed in being there–but they also echo the desire of those who wish to preserve historical places where important people have lived…The future of the university is in the hands of the president, and in the past the quiet strength of the old house must have been an inspiration to the principal occupant…” I know it was to my father, George Willis Diemer (president 1937-1956). In its place will be what? A spacious green for people to gather? But the house will be gone, and with it the memory of its dignity and beauty for generations of young and old alike.

  6. Emma Lou Diemer Reply

    January 18, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    One need only to go to the website of Selmo Park and read its history to know what a treasure is apparently about to be destroyed. Every president’s wife through all the years has spent countless hours renewing and improving the interior of this beloved house for the enjoyment of the students and faculty as well as townspeople and visitors. Selma Park was designated a Missouri Historical Site in 1962. What possessed the Board to vote to demolish it? The cost of bringing it back to livability would be worth every penny.

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