Administrative Annex from Library Road. (Photo by Shelly Hanks, WSU Photo Services.)
 
The Administrative Annex building at WSU Pullman was constructed in 1907 as a barn for use by the College of Veterinary Medicine. After a series of alterations, adaptations and additions over the last century, the building is slated for demolition this winter.
 
Phillip Wright, a project officer for Capital Planning and Development (CPD), explained some of the reasons for that decision: “This building has received 17 Interior and exterior renovations with very little consideration given to its architectural value. To presume the building has architectural value now makes little sense. For academic and administrative purposes, the building is very inefficient — only 8,000 square feet of the building’s total 18,000 square feet is assignable for academic and administrative purposes. 
 
“The roof must be rebuilt. Hazardous materials, including asbestos, must be abated. The cooling system is inefficient and wastes significant amounts of domestic water. The entire structure is energy inefficient, using single-pane windows, for example.”
 
The Administrative Annex Replacement report, which is linked from the news options on the CPD website (ONLINE
@ www.cpd.wsu.edu), estimates that renovation to the existing building to extend its usefulness for 15 to 20 years would cost $7 million.
 
 
 
 
“The Administrative Annex is just not worth saving,” Wright summarized. “Keeping it would be an inappropriate use of taxpayer money.”
 
The Historic Preservation Committee of the Faculty Senate has been involved in the decision-making. In 2003, the committee voted to oppose demolition, explaining that the building was part of the historic core of the Pullman campus, said Bob Krikac, associate professor of interior design and then chair of the committee.
 
“We voted to save the building because of its contributing significance to campus,” Krikac said. “It may not be as ornate, but it represents a significant period in campus history. I continue to oppose demolition. If we destroy that building, we will unravel our history a bit.”
 
However, after the staff of CPD decided to pursue the demolition project, in 2007 the committee voted again. Krikac said this time the committee was “resigned to accept” the university’s decision.
 
Following acceptance by the faculty committee, the project is moving forward. Wright said CPD plans to remove the building during the 2008-2009 winter break and then turn the area into green space as part of the Library Road Phase III plan. A 55,000-square-foot building is slated for the site in the campus master plan, to be constructed in a decade or so.
 
“We have not completed bidding yet, but this project is already started,” Wright said. “The building is coming down.”
 
Despite those assurances, a group of retired faculty and alumni are continuing their effort to save the building.
 
Everett Martin, retired professor of animal science, who attended an April meeting of the preservation committee and the CPD staff, is one of several who voiced opposition.
 
“There is nothing structurally wrong with that building, and it will cost about one-half million dollars just to tear it down,” Martin said.
 
“This was the original College of Veterinary Medicine building and we should preserve that link to our past. Remember that the livestock pavilion and the alumni center were both going to be torn down – and now they are valued parts of our campus.”
 
Martin vowed to continue the fight to save the building.