By STEWART COARD – CENTO WRITER
Two years ago, Centre College bought property along Fifth Street in the hopes of demolishing the current houses and placing a lot over the site.
However, according to Centre’s Associate Vice President of Legal Affairs Jamey Leahy, Danville’s Architectural Review Board “agreed to all but one house,” specifically one built as a bungalow, in an effort to preserve the historical building.
Unfortunately, the property lies across from the old location of the Bob’s Quickstop Gas Station and was named uninhabitable from the subsequent gas leaks into the ground.
However, officials at Centre created a simple plan to preserve the house. “We had a building, we could use the structure, what if we just moved the building?” Leahy said.
The College then found a construction company that specialized in moving entire houses and made plans to move the house onto an empty lot at the end of Greek Row (next to the Kappa Alpha Theta house) where it will be used as housing.
While news of the plan broke earlier this summer, the building has yet to be moved due to complications including required construction projects and the logistics of moving the house.
“First we will have to build a basement” Director of Facilities Management Wayne King said. “Once the basement is complete, we will slide the house over its new foundation.” In order to get the house off its foundations, the construction team will have to gut its basement.
The construction crew will have to first move the house down Main Street, continue onto Maple Street it, and then take it down Walnut Street to get the property to its final destination.
In order to complete the move, Centre College will have to work with the police to clear 30 feet on Main Street for the house, temporarily removing traffic lights in order to make room.
The building will also have to be moved at night to avoid traffic.
Another concern with the Fifth Street property is the previously mentioned gas leaks that have made the houses uninhabitable. “We had known for years that some of the gas tanks had leaked. The gas was pushing north towards the houses,” Leahy said.
Centre was advised that an asphalt layer over top would work best to prevent gases from escaping in the future, so it was decided a parking lot would be built over the already torn-down houses.
Currently, there is nothing more than gravel covering the ground, but plans to transform it into functional parking lot are moving forward.
While the involved members of the administration look forward to the move, they also hope that purchasing the properties will have benefits outside of the Centre community.
“We bought four houses in really bad shape. We suspected some drug activities [were occurring],” King said. By buying and repairing these houses, Centre hopes that their efforts could help to improve the overall quality and safety of the neighborhood.
Plans to move the Fifth Street building are still be constructed and finalized. As of now, no official date for the move has been scheduled.