Historic Edwards Building is Demolished

By Ülvi Gitaliyev

Built in 1903 with the help of Berea College students, the Edwards building was one of the oldest buildings in the city of Berea. It also housed the Foundation School, Berea College’s secondary boarding school for Appalachian aged 15 and up until 1968, when the program was ended. From then on, the building had served a variety of roles, including offices for staff and housing for students. In 2023 though, the Board of Trustees voted to destroy the buidling once and for all to rebuild a new building in its place to host the Alumni, Philanthropy, and Strategic Initiatives offices.

Many current students and alumni, as well as members of the Berea community, were dismayed at the sight of the once iconic building being torn down, hoping that it would be renovated instead, but a statement from the college’s own Facebook page, explained that:

“We… did explore the possibility of renovating Edwards. A great deal of planning went into this work, but current structural building codes prevent us from reusing the existing walls to support the new floor loads. As a result, to renovate Edwards, the College would have to deconstruct the roof and all the floors, essentially having four main walls of brick remaining, requiring extensive shoring and foundation remediation throughout renovation. Structural steel framing would then be installed within the original shell to support the new floors and the roof. The College did explore this requirement further, only to learn that there were two serious factors associated with this requirement.”

The status of building, and whether or not it would be demolished, was discussed by the Berea College General Faculty Assembly (GFA) multiple times, with many hoping that the building would remain intact. When students return this fall to Berea College, they will be met with a new landscape, whether or not they will like it is yet to be seen.

Note: This article was updated at 20:57 on August 12th to remove a piece of unverified information.

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