Arkansas university to demolish two historic buildings for financial savings, upgrades

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RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. (KATV) — Arkansas Tech University will soon be demolishing two historic buildings: the Administration and Tomlinson buildings.

In a special meeting called Monday, the ATU Board of Trustees voted to demolish the two structures built in the 1930’s.

Facility director Drew Dickey said the cost to update these buildings are estimated to be around $6.9 million.

“They both need new roofs immediately,” said Dickey. “With rising construction costs, I am not even sure how to estimate that. They both need waterproofing projects. We really struggle to keep the water out on the exterior and in the basements as well as from the roof. They both need to be painted. They both need to be cleaned.”
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RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. (KATV) — Arkansas Tech University will soon be demolishing two historic buildings: the Administration and Tomlinson buildings.

In a special meeting called Monday, the ATU Board of Trustees voted to demolish the two structures built in the 1930’s.

Facility director Drew Dickey said the cost to update these buildings are estimated to be around $6.9 million.

“They both need new roofs immediately,” said Dickey. “With rising construction costs, I am not even sure how to estimate that. They both need waterproofing projects. We really struggle to keep the water out on the exterior and in the basements as well as from the roof. They both need to be painted. They both need to be cleaned.”
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ATU interim President Russell Jones said while the history is rich, they had enough space to move the administration staff and graduate program currently residing there.

He said raising the building would provide funds to put into other projects – so he had to make a choice.

“It was actually going to be a savings of $6.5 million to raise the buildings,” Jones said. “That $6.5 million we can put into living and learning areas for our students and faculty. In my opinion, giving the students a good place to live and a good place to eat, as well as good accommodations to learn is very important.”

The Tomlinson building was named after a former faculty member that worked at ATU back in the 1940’s.

Jones said they reached out the family before making this decision.

“They supported the decision, which is always something we try to do if the building is named after a family or an individual,” he said. “Also, the Cupula on top of the Tomlinson building is a central part of our campus. It is on all of our emblems and logos. We are going to save that and put it in a significant place on campus.”

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