Group warns of possible demolition

Pictured is the Fenner House on Central Avenue.

A potential demolition of the Fenner House on Central Avenue on the outskirts of the State University of New York at Fredonia campus has drawn the attention of the Fredonia Preservation Society.

In a letter to the OBSERVER last week, six board members of the society have called a possible plan “shocking news.”

“It has come to our attention that the Fenner House, formerly the College Admissions Office, is scheduled for demolition this summer,” the letter states. “This is shocking news to the Fredonia Preservation Society as this is one of Fredonia’s beautiful historic homes.”

In December, university officials discussed the vacating of the building during a College Council meeting due to structural issues at the 178 Central Ave. site. It was previously home to the admissions staff.

“We had a serious discussion about co-locating functions associated with the admissions operation, not just undergraduate admissions, but graduate admissions, all the admissions operation. … We decided that it was time for us to make a very difficult decision, but a very important decision, and we’re going to move all of the staff out of the Fenner House and move into the sixth floor of Maytum so we can co-locate our entire admissions operation to one functional area,” university Vice President of Academic Affairs Cedric Howard said at the time.

In a call to the university last week, officials indicated no decision on the site had been made.

Preservation Society members noted the building was featured in Dr. Daniel Reiff’s book, “Architecture in Fredonia, New York 1811-1997.” The house was built in 1868 and is included on the poster of architectural significant houses in Fredonia.

“With the tragic fire (earlier this month) in the steeple of the Family Church, formerly the First Baptist Church containing the village clock, it is another example of the necessity of understanding the importance of historic structures to the beauty of our village,” the board said.

Board members who signed the letter included: Linda Malcolm, Barbara Joy, Kathleen Petersen, Roger Schulenberg, Nancy Whitcher and Erika Fiorella.