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Posted: July 11, 2011 5:41 a.m.

UGA weighs fates of historic buildings

ATHENS, Ga. - The University of Georgia is weighing whether to demolish three historic buildings this week, including one structure built during the Great Depression.

Officials opened bids last week from companies offering to tear down or move two century-old wood frame houses on the campus. Architectural and engineering firms also had to submit proposals for how they would demolish Rutherford Hall, built by the federal Works Progress Administration during the 1930s. The firms also had to detail how they would rebuild a much larger building on the site of the UGA residence hall.

University planners have set an upper limit of about $16.7 million to demolish Rutherford, which has about 160 beds. The new facility would have an additional 100 beds.

Historic preservation groups are protesting the tear-downs. Mark McDonald, president of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation is encouraging the college to rehabilitate the building.

UGA Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration Tim Burgess said the school has a long history of historic preservation, but is in the business of running a university.

Administrators won't make a decision right away and could decide to reject the two bids for the wood frame homes.

UGA acquired the century-old cottages and the historic Wray-Nicholson House 11 years ago from Athens-Clarke County for $2.3 million, but have not made much use of the houses.

 

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