Fair Apartments to be demolished

A picture of Fair Apartments.
Fair Apartments will be demolished during summer 2018 and replaced with green space. (Photo by Ryan Pivoney/TMN)

Fair Apartments will be demolished this summer and replaced with a green space for students.

The building, located along Patterson Street in front of Ryle Hall and across from Violette Hall, will be replaced by an open area for students. Physical Plant Director Karl Schneider said the demolition project is set to begin on May 14 and will be finished by the end of July. He said the University has contracted the project to BRS Construction, who will remove asbestos before performing the demolition. While the deconstruction takes place, Schneider said the sidewalk and parking lot around the building will be closed. The parking lot will remain available to students next year.

“[BRS Construction] is going to be done before the end of summer, so by next fall the site will be cleared, grass will be planted, the parking lot will be open again and the sidewalk will be open,” Schneider said.

Dave Rector, vice president for administration, finance and planning, said the project is expected to cost $179,000, and it has been on the University’s to-do list for a few years. Rector said the project has a high cost because removing the asbestos and the solid structure with thick walls are expensive operations. He said the University is also required to pay the workers a prevailing wage, similar to union wages in the industry. Funding for the project comes from the University Physical Plant fund, Rector said.

Rector said the building was scheduled to be destroyed about two years ago, but the Baldwin Hall renovation pushed the project back. Fair Apartments were used as temporary faculty offices while the renovation of Baldwin Hall occurred. Rector said a company was hired to perform a facility condition index of all Truman residence halls in 2005-06 to determine which buildings to stop investing in. Fair Apartments, Randolph Apartments and Grim Hall were deemed too expensive to be renovated and were no longer needed, he said.

“The long-range plan has this parking lot [not] there and this would all just be a grassy area here and just a kind of a free-play area or place to have some benches and so forth for students to hang out,” Rector said.

Residence Life Director John Gardner said the demolition of Fair Apartments will not affect Residence Life moving forward. He said the apartments were the most popular living space at Truman at one time but have been less popular because of the rise in single rooms available on campus. Additionally, the apartments had issues with deteriorating bathtubs, and the carpets could not be removed because of the asbestos underneath. He said financially, it made little sense for the University to keep the structure and pay for repairing an empty space.

“Fair has served our community well,” Garder said. “It’s been an important part of our history, and it will always be, for many alumni and past members of our community, an important space on campus. It just no longer serves our current residents’ needs.”