Building at Ridges could be torn down

The tuberculosis cottage and infirmary are a part of The Ridges. One of the buildings is expected to be demolished by Halloween as part of the Capital Improvement Plan. (Dustin Lennert | File)

Editor’s note: Wesley’s last name has been omitted to protect his identity.

Ohio University officials are planning on demolishing a building at The Ridges despite protests from local historians.

The Beacon School, which was originally built in 1924 and was used to house tuberculosis patients, is now vacant. University officials expect it to be demolished by Halloween.

“The university has gone through great efforts to block off the building,” said Harry Wyatt, associate vice president for Facilities. “It doesn’t work too well. There is some hazardous materials contamination, and the best thing to do for the building is to demolish.”

The project is part of OU’s Capital Improvement Plan and the state received $300,000 in state appropriations to fund the building’s destruction. However, Wyatt said he hopes the total cost is lower.

Officials at the Athens County Historical Society & Museum want OU to use the money elsewhere, said Tom O’Grady, president of the society, in a news release.

“For the amount of money the university is receiving to demolish this building, the Athens County Historical Society believes that the community would be better served to use that money to secure the building from trespassers and vandals, until a plan for restoring the building can be created,” O’Grady said.

OU has protected the area for many years from vandalism and it is a popular spot to trespass, especially around Halloween, Wyatt said.

Wesley, an OU freshman studying business, said he was curious to explore The Ridges and did so during Bobcat Student Orientation — a visit that ended in a trip to court.

“Lots of people talk about going in there,” Wesley said. “I was just there at the wrong time, I guess. I was just exploring with some of my friends. I’m not getting close to the buildings anytime soon.”

Though a firm has not yet been chosen for the demolition, Panich-Nowell, a local architectural firm, will work with OU to decide the best way to demolish the property, said Donna Goss, director of real estate and engagement.

“The Athens County Historical Society would like to partner with the university in developing a sustainable and creative approach to the long term use of these structures for the benefit of the university and the community,” O’Grady said.

OU was gifted The Ridges, a total of more than 665 acres, in 1988 by Ohio’s 17th General Assembly, Goss said.

dd195710@ohiou.edu

Comments

What a joke.

I don't know where to start. Maybe that the this building is around 200 years old and is famous all over the USA, let alone ohio and Athen's historical values.

“The university has gone through great efforts to block off the building,” said Harry Wyatt, associate vice president for Facilities. “It doesn’t work too well. There is some hazardous materials contamination, and the best thing to do for the building is to demolish.”

The hazardous materials consist of broken sharp items in the building along with lead poisoning and asbestos. All of which are in the buildings that are being torn down now in front of Adams Hall. Not sure of what the name is, but they were apartments that contained Asbestos and lead in them while people were currently still living in them up till a few months ago.

Why not use the money to fix it up and get the proper security for it. Clearly the Asylum itself was well maintained and fixed up and used for offices and other things needed. If you want to take out the ghostly factor, the beauty in it being vacant, and what it stood for all of it, just fix the damn thing up atleast. It's not like OU is financially in debt. People clearly want to go in so make something interesting out of it and give tours and make even more money. Oh we know how colleges love to make money off of you, so heres the chance!

Taking down this building is only go to take away from the attraction to Athens and it's historical value. You'll have an insane asylum that has an art museum in it (why? who knows, what a dumb idea), a graveyard which is really interesting and many other vacant buildings in the ridges, but which will be next to be demolished. It's only a matter of time that OU finds any excuse to take it all down and build another giant Baker Center on top of the hill, but just for looks.

OU and Athens really needs to contimplate about what they are about to do!

The Post | 325 Baker University Center | Athens, Ohio 45701

Newsroom: (740) 593-4011 | Front Desk: (740) 593-4010 | Advertising: (740) 593-4018 | Fax: (740) 593-0561 | E-mail: posteditorial@ohiou.edu

Surf New Media