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UPDATE: Fenner House presentation canceled

OBSERVER File Photo SUNY Fredonia wants to tear down the Fenner House.

A presentation regarding the Fenner House will not be taking place on Thursday after all. In a post made on the OBSERVER site, Mark Twichell said the event has been canceled.

The event had been listed on the university’s calendar for Thursday night at the Williams Center before today.

Since 2018, the Fenner House has been a source of frustration in the community.

The 1868 building, located at 178 Central Ave., has not been in use by the college since January 2018, when the admissions office was moved to the sixth floor of Maytum Hall due to Fenner House’s questionable structural integrity. In a July 2018 press release, Virginia Horvath, former college president, cited numerous problems noted by the Facilities Planning Office. These include a decaying foundation, crumbling masonry, malfunctioning doors and windows and occasional vermin infestation. The building also contains asbestos, does not meet ADA requirements and requires significant improvements to the entire heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.

Horvath’s letter referenced the Facilities Planning Office’s $2.1 million estimate to get the building to “operable conditions,” which does not include any aesthetic work. At that time, the SUNY Construction Fund offered the college approximately $330,000 to raze the building and landscape the property.

In September 2019, following an architect’s study commissioned by Fredonia and the Construction Fund, Interim President Dennis Hefner delivered a letter to the Construction Fund to begin the process of razing the building. The study suggested “demolition start immediately to prevent mishap or injury to individuals in or adjacent to the building.”

Multiple community members voiced their displeasure with the decision, including members of the Fredonia Preservation Society. Fredonia resident Twichell, member of the Darwin R. Barker Library and Museum board of directors, approached the Fredonia Village Board last month and asked trustees to delay the demolition. He noted that, while the building is owned by the state, it is also listed by the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, which must approve any demolition plan.

As of now, there are no plans for any presentation regarding the site.

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