September 1, 2009

"Mount Allison demolishes 2 heritage buildings"


Apparently I'm not the only one to have taken notice to Mount Allison tearing down old buildings. The Canadian Broadcasting Channel, Canada's national public radio and television broadcaster wrote a story about the demise of the heritage buildings. Earlier it was a headline on cbc.ca/canada but has now been related to the regional news section.

September 1, 2009

Mount Allison demolishes 2 heritage buildings

By CBC News
CBC News

Two 99-year-old houses on the Mount Allison University campus in Sackville, N.B., were demolished last week after the university could not find a buyer for the historic buildings.

Two 99-year-old houses on the Mount Allison University campus in Sackville, N.B., were demolished last week after the university could not find a buyer for the historic buildings.

Baxter and Sprague houses were put up for sale earlier this summer by the university but a condition of any potential sale was that the buyer would have to move the homes before the start of this semester.

A deal could not be reached and now the only signs of their past are an empty lot and a mud puddle.

The destruction of the heritage buildings leaves some Sackville residents worried about the future of other historic houses on the university campus.

Matthew Holmes, a Mount Allison alumnus and Sackville resident, said he's upset that this summer, as in previous summers, more of the university's old houses have been torn down.

"A lot of these great old character buildings are no longer with the campus," he said.

Virgil Hammock, a Sackville councillor and former head of the fine arts department at the university, said the university needs to protect these old houses as a part of its history.

"We won't have history if we don't maintain these kind of properties," Hammock said.

"The university's done a splendid job at inventing history on the main campus where they took a lot of '60s buildings and tarted them up and they look very good, but they're not really historic buildings."

Reducing environmental footprint

While some people are encouraging the university to maintain the aging buildings for historic reasons, the university said they are being taken down for environmental reasons as the campus tries to reduce its footprint and its energy consumption.

Gloria Jollymore, the vice-president of university advancement at Mount Allison, said the closing of the houses was planned as part of the campus facilities master plan.

"Part of that plan is to maintain the historical look and feel of the campus, then also to reduce the physical footprint of the campus so that we're not consuming the same energy that we did at one time," she said.

Another house around the corner from Baxter and Sprague houses has also fallen into disrepair.

But rather than tear it down, next year the university plans to renovate and turn The Anchorage house into a student residence.

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