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Published: Tuesday, 3/12/2013

UT to raze 3 dorms, 2 other buildings

Work likely to occur in 2014, cost $1M

BY NOLAN ROSENKRANS
BLADE STAFF WRITER

It’s out with the old and — apparently — in with the new at the University of Toledo.

The university’s board of trustees approved the demolition Monday of five buildings, including the Dowd-Nash-White residence halls at the northwestern edge of main campus. Meanwhile, UT administrators said they are in the preliminary stages of developing an agreement with a private company to build a rehabilitation center on the health science campus, and are considering the development of a dentistry school.

Along with the three buildings that make up Dowd-White-Nash, UT will knock down a building in the southeast corner of main campus that once housed the university’s print shop, and a power plant on the health science campus. The demolished buildings consist of about 160,000 square feet of building space.

The residence halls, which with MacKinnon Hall forms UT’s “quad,” were built in 1952 and housed 330 students, said Chuck Lehnert, UT’s vice president of administration. They have been closed for a year and recently had been used as overflow space when UT ran out of beds in its other dormitories.

The university will rename three interior hallways of its Crossings residence hall after Worthington Dowd, Philip Curtis Nash, and Wilbur Wallace White, all former UT presidents.

The fourth hallway will be named after former UT President Daniel M. Johnson, and the building itself will be renamed Presidents Hall Student Residence.

Mr. Lehnert said private businesses have shown interest in possibly building student housing at the Dowd-Nash-White site, once the residence halls are torn down. That coincides with possible plans to build privately developed student housing just east of campus on Bancroft Street, currently the site of several restaurants.

Interest by private developers in student housing near campus picked up in recent months after the completion of UT’s Gateway project at Dorr Street and Secor Road, which included apartments that were quickly rented, Mr. Lehnert said.

“[Developers] saw market potential when we did Gateway,” he said.

UT officials said the print shop building, called the Westwood Annex in a board resolution, is no longer needed, as the university moved the print shop during spring break last year to the book store’s former location in the Student Union. Once demolished, the site will be mostly green space and serve as an entrance to the engineering section of the main campus.

The other building to be razed is a coal-fired power plant no longer in use. Mr. Lehnert said the building didn’t provide power for the health science campus, but provided steam and heat to buildings.

Mr. Lehnert said demolition will likely cost about $1 million for all the buildings, and would be completed in fiscal year 2014.

Meanwhile, the university is in preliminary discussions to develop a rehabilitation facility with Ernest Health, Inc., a private company based in Albuquerque, N.M., that owns more than a dozen hospitals. The joint venture would be a 40-bed hospital that likely would be built and run by Ernest, with UT sharing or providing personnel and using the facility for education and research, said Dr. Jeffrey Gold, chancellor and vice president for biosciences and health affairs at the University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical College of Ohio Hospital.

The university and Ernest are beginning negotiations for a letter of intent on the project, which could be built on a wooded area on the southwest corner of the health science campus.

A potentially bigger project that’s in a purely conceptual stage is the possible development of a college of dentistry. With the number of practicing dentists per 100,000 people declining and the need for dental services increasing, Dr. Gold said staff are considering whether the development of a dentistry program would be practical at UT. Ohio has only two dentistry colleges, and Ohio State University has the only public program in the state, he said.

University officials, though, said they are unsure at this point if the college would be financially feasible.

Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at:

nrosenkrans@theblade.com

or 419-724-6086, or on

Twitter @NolanRosenkrans.



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