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Published: Friday, 1/9/2004

BGSU still trying to build dream house

BY RYAN E. SMITH
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Dr. Ribeau left the university-owned house at 625 Hillcrest Drive in November, 2002, for a BGSU-leased condominium so architects could evaluate the home and formulate a plan for renovating or rebuilding it.

But officials still are trying to develop a proposal that will fit within their budget, set last year when the BGSU Foundation allocated $750,000 for the work.

“It s been coming in higher than what the budget was,” said Chris Dalton, the university s senior vice president for finance and administration.

“We ve been trying different ways to address this to keep the project within the budget,” he added. “It s taken much longer going through these various design options than we anticipated.”

Officials have said the work is necessary because the house is not adequate for entertaining potential donors and might not be a strong draw for a new president, especially one with a family.

The home hadn t had significant repair work to it since 1974. The two-story house was built in 1960 and sits on nearly two acres.

At first, university officials sought designs to renovate the structure. When those plans didn t meet all their requirements within budget constraints, they tried a design based on razing the house and building a new one on the property, Dr. Dalton said.

Those estimates came back in October, but they also were over budget. Officials now are evaluating all their options as they deal with the problem, he said.

“I would hope that we would have this resolved within a month or two, in terms of a decision,” Dr. Dalton said. “I m not sure anything s off the table at this point.”

In the meantime, BGSU has continued the lease through the end of March at the Larchwood Drive condominium, where Dr. Ribeau has been living for $2,630 a month.

Dr. Ribeau was out of town yesterday and could not be reached for comment.

Sharon Cook, a member of the BGSU board of trustees who is its liaison to the committee dealing with the issue, said officials need to move carefully on a project of this magnitude and importance.

“If we re spending money, it s got to be well spent,” she said. “We re being very prudent, very careful.”

Even though the board gave Dr. Ribeau a contract extension through July, 2008, meaning succession issues might not come up for a while longer, she said it s important that the work move forward as soon as possible.



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