By GRAY WHITSETT – OPINIONS SECTION EDITOR
Being an institution that is rapidly approaching its bicentennial, Centre College is no stranger to the annals of American history. Home to numerous buildings that were built well before the turn of the twentieth century, and supplemented by Danville’s awareness of and concern for historical preservation, the Kentucky college prides itself on integrating old residences, repurposing original facilities, and weaving a profound legacy of antiquity throughout the campus experience.
“We’ve made an effort to work with the citizens of Danville to represent and honor the heritage of the ‘City of the Firsts,’” Director of Facilities Management Wayne King said.
The Rubeus Hagrid of Centre College, King pointed to several ready examples of preservation.
“Several current residential facilities trace their roots back to well over a century,” King said. “The Ruby Cheek House was built circa 1860 and the Breeze House dates back to the 1890s. Even now we’re finalizing the plans to move the Fifth Street house to Greek Park.”
Considering the costs associated with renovating aged structures, this record is commendable. But now the college has plans to take this habit to new heights.
In a recent press release, President John Roush confirmed rumors of a bold addition to the picturesque campus–the addition of a Native American hut dating back to the beginning of the Common Era.
Determined to be at least 2,000 years old, the Paleoamerican eight-by-eight foot structure will be situated directly behind Nevin Hall in the green space between the dorms and Beatty Avenue.
“The hut serves a dual purpose,” Director of Student Life and Housing Ann Young said. “On the one hand, we’re assisting Danville in its obsessive mission to protect anything over a decade old, and on the other we’re taking another step to address our housing issues.”
As Young explained, the hut will serve as a single-residence for which students can apply to live in during the regular housing process.
“Unfortunately, due to the fact that the hut is almost as old as Jesus Christ, there won’t be any heating, plumbing, or running water,” Young explained, “but the erratic temperature changes and irregular shower warmth shouldn’t be too out of the ordinary.”
Young also said the administration was already looking into an awkward plaque desperately rationalizing this poor decision, similar to the Lincoln addition.
But some aren’t happy with the move.
“I really do believe in the mission of historical awareness,” Wayne King said, “but you reach a point where it’s just not worth it. These decisions become problems on my desk, and that’s a lot of extra work without much gain.”
It did seem rather odd to pump so many resources into something with such few benefits. After some digging, it was clear that this wasn’t strictly up to Centre.
“It’s something we’re really excited about,” Chairman of the Danville Architectural Heritage Board Les Letton said. As head of Danville’s premier governmental agency, the AHB exists “to protect historic areas and buildings,” and is challenged in supremacy only by the Danville Cemetery Committee. It is also worth noting that the AHB meets more often than the Danville Human Rights Commission and has more members than the Danville Ethics Board.
“This hut is dear to Danville tradition,” Chairman Letton continued. “It’s where the first pre-Columbian constitution was signed, and we’re pretty sure one of Daniel Boone’s ancestors camped near it after crossing the Land Bridge. To tear it down would be to sever a portion of our history with which the community identifies.”
Indeed, with one-fourth of one percent of Danville’s citizens identifying as Native American, the hut’s destruction would anger several tens of people.
But this explanation seemed shaky at best, and Chairman Letton felt obliged to clarify.
“Look, the AHB used to be the laughing stock of the Danville political community. The Sister Cities Committee always got more funding and the Beautification Committee got all the publicity. And don’t even get me started on the Streetscape guys. I brought us back from that. I restored our great committee.”
Still, the story only felt half complete. That is, until a surprise interviewee stepped forward.
“My only condition is that you can’t use my name,” Mayor of Danville Bernie Hunstad said.
A veteran of small town politics, Mayor Hunstad is ending his term this year, and felt it was time to speak about Chairman Letton and the AHB.
“The AHB started out as something noble, seeking to forward a meaningful goal. But now…well, Letton’s let the power go to his head. He’s got this plan to collectivize all of the historic homes in the city and move large portions of the population there. He’s got to be stopped.”
Mayor Hunstad looked visibly ill. “I tried to come forward earlier, but my family and I live in an old plantation-style home and I feared for our lives.”
Ultimately, Centre still plans to move forward with the project, despite, or perhaps as a result of, Danville politicking.
“It’s time for a change of leadership,” Chairman Letton said. “It’s time for a historic revolution, and it might make some people uncomfortable, but that’s the nature of it–a revolution is not a dinner party.”
Editor’s Note: The previous article is from the CentOnion series, a satirical publication focused on parodying various subjects unique to Centre College’s campus.
As such, all content within this article is purely fictional and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Cento or Centre College.
In addition all quotations used in this article are purely fictional and do not necessarily reflect the views of the individuals quoted.