Smith House razing - South Green

Contractor in the process of tearing down Smith House, a residence hall on Ohio University's South Green (the newer section vicariously known as the New South, Dirty South and Back South) on Tuesday, May 21.

Editor's note: This article mistakenly stated that Weld House would also be demolished this summer, based on previous reporting. OU spokesperson Jim Sabin said that that's no longer the case.

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Ohio University started the demolition of Smith House on OU’s Back South/New South Green this week, with two other dorms on that residential green set for tear-down in future.

The total cost of the project is around $3 million, The NEWS previously reported.

The other two residence halls set to be razed are Armbruster and Atkinson houses. Demolition on those residence halls is expected later this summer.

The university already has demolished six South Green dorms (Cady, Foster, Brough, Fenzel, O’Bleness and Martzolff houses) in recent years as a part of a university-wide housing renewal strategy. Previously, the university has suggested that all 15 of OU’s “Back South” residence halls (the late ’60s, early ’70s-built dorms behind the “Front Four” dorms) be torn down over time. In their first decade or so of operation, the slated-for-demolition dorms were referred to as the “New South Green.” There are no current plans to raze the so-called Front Four South Green dormitories (Pickering, Brown, Mackinnon and Crawford).

“Given a downward trending enrollment projection/housing demand and amount of deferred maintenance in the Back South, Mackey Mitchell Architects recommends demolishing six Back South buildings while keeping Hoover, Ewing and Wray online as future swing space,” an OU Board of Trustees agenda item stated in early 2018. Demolishing those six buildings will remove $40.66 million from the university’s deferred maintenance costs alone, according to the agenda. Plus, the buildings do not “promote (a) safe/secure image,” and are “highly inefficient and expensive to maintain.”

The agenda lists the area where those six dormitories could be removed as a potential “future recreation area.”

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