BUCKHANNON – The new year is already ushering in changes to the Buckhannon-Upshur community – including several significant ones at West Virginia Wesleyan College.
Wesleyan officials recently confirmed that the Camden Avenue Apartments will be demolished this summer.
According to an issue of The Orange Line, a Wesleyan newsletter provided to My Buckhannon by Bob Skinner, Wesleyan’s vice president for advancement, college officials have determined the three facilities have become functionally obsolete after a comprehensive facilities and budget analysis.
Since being built in the fall of 1982, the Camden complex has offered students a variety of housing options. Prior to it being constructed, Wesleyan did not offer apartment-style living options.
“Wesleyan, at the time, had experienced a large increase in enrollment,” he said. “Ironically, after Camden opened, Wesleyan saw a sharp enrollment decline, and we actually closed traditional residence halls until enrollment grew in the late 1980s.”
Over the years, the physical plant staff has devoted nearly 80 percent of their time and resources to addressing a number of serious issues with each of the three buildings, according to the newsletter. One of the facilities provided the only apartment living space on Wesleyan’s campus.
To ensure no students are displaced, Skinner said razing of the complex will not begin until this summer.
With anticipation of the demolition this summer, WVWC has been renovating a number of properties adjacent to the campus on Meade Street and College Avenue for apartment living.
“During the past several years, the college has purchased properties adjacent to the campus,” said Skinner. “The physical plant staff has been upgrading these houses in anticipation of the razing of Camden.”
Skinner added WVWC anticipates having enough premium housing spaces to meet the demand of students.
“The administration realizes that we need to make upgrades to our traditional residence halls,” he said.
“Wesleyan is currently engaged in a comprehensive strategic planning process from which a revised Master Facilities plan will be developed,” reads The Orange Line newsletter.
That plan is expected to include several residence hall renovations that will likely impact Agnes Howard, Benedum, Holloway, Jenkins and McCuskey Halls.
So, what’s the plan for the razed space?
While college officials have no set plans yet, the razed area will be kept as a green space immediately after demolition.
“There is no timeline as to how long the college plans to keep the area as a green space,” said Skinner.