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Bohannon still standing

September 23rd, 2010

What used to be the Bohannon Science Center has stood vacant between the Boler School of Business and the Dolan Center for Science and Technology since January 2009.

The building will possibly be demolished and in its place a surface parking lot and additional green space will be constructed in the next year or two, according to Carol Dietz, associate vice president of facilities. The parking lot will replace parking that was lost to the Hamlin Quad restoration this semester.

According to JCU President the Rev. Robert Niehoff, S.J., studies done on campus by an architectural firm four years ago concluded that more parking could be utilized by demolishing Bohannon than was in the Temporary Lot.

Niehoff said ideally Bohannon should have been taken down before the Hamlin Quad was restored. However, that was impossible due to financial reasons.

“Taking Bohannon down is a multi-million dollar project and I had to raise the money to do that,” Niehoff said.

The project has been in limbo while funds are raised to finance it. Dietz said the estimated cost of the entire undertaking is $2-2.5 million and includes design and study fees. Funds will not be taken from JCU’s operating budget or students’ tuition; it will be entirely funded by donations to the University.

“We’ve raised most of the money to do this project, but we can’t begin until after graduation next year,” Niehoff said.

The project cannot begin until after graduation due to events, such as alumni weekend and commencement, which will be taking place on campus next spring.

The project is also pending on obtaining a permit from University Heights.

In the meantime, the building is in the process of being entirely cleared out. Remaining furniture and equipment in Bohannon is being removed this week.

According to Richard Bretz, director of construction, metal materials are being shredded and recycled and all wood is being converted into mulch.

Before this, University departments were able to remove what they wished to keep. The University also held employee sales to dispose of items. Materials not disposed of by the sale were either scrapped or recycled.

Dietz said, “Some equipment and building materials are being converted to scrap. We are trying to divert as much as we can from the landfills.”

Over the next few months, Bohannon’s interior will be demolished and after that the exterior will be taken down.

Once the final approval is given by the University the project will take an estimated three or four months, depending on the time of year in which it is done.

Bohannon has been slowly phased out of use since Dolan was built in 2003. It used to house the science, mathematics and psychology departments. These departments moved into Dolan when it was built, and student groups used the space for offices and storage. However, once John Carroll University purchased the Green Road Annex, Bohannon was vacated.

The University considered other options for the space, but ultimately decided to demolish it.

“Some studies were done to evaluate the cost of renovation but ultimately the building was too energy inefficient and the university did not need the additional space,” said Dietz.

Other proposed possibilities for the space included a conference center, general-use building and residential building.

“None of these options proved worthy based on the cost of the renovations applied to each. The structure has a very strong foundation as well as being very stable, however the carbon foot print and lack of floor to ceiling height limited the way it could be used,” said Bretz.

Also, asbestos was used in building materials in the 1960s when Bohannon was built. Asbestos in the building will be removed by a contractor who is certified to do so.

Certain aspects of the Bohannon demolition are still under consideration including the size of the parking lot, how to treat storm water run-off, and whether to salvage the old greenhouse.

No exact date has been set for Bohannon’s demolition, although Niehoff’s goal is to have new parking in place by the fall of 2011.