The College is renting space at 521 Butler Farm Rd. as temporary housing for those replaced by the Templin Hall renovations.
The collapse of a portion of the Templin Hall roof did more than displace the theater department. The nearly 50,000-square foot building also was home to classrooms and offices.
Most of the classes once held in Templin are being held across the campus, and many faculty and staff who were displaced also have been scattered among multiple buildings. However, steps have been taken recently to bring all under one roof again.
Steve Carpenter, the vice president of finance and administration for Thomas Nelson, said a 40-month lease was signed recently for 521 Butler Farm Rd., former site of a Ferguson Enterprises call center.
“We hope to be in there by late spring,” he said, noting work must be done to make it ADA compliant. “We may not hold summer classes there, but we’re already planning classes there for fall.”
Carpenter said the space was nearly a perfect to fit the College’s needs. It’s next door to the Hampton III Building (and will be known as Hampton IV), and there was a lot of empty space on both floors of the two-story building, which has about 45,000-square feet of space.
“We figured we could go in pretty easily and throw up some walls to make some classrooms and create a Templin replacement for some time,” he said.
With the target date for the Templin renovations late 2024 or early 2025, the 40-month lease allows for extra time should construction be delayed. Carpenter is not sure how many classrooms will be in Hampton IV, but said there will be at least as many as were in Templin. The goal is to have a few more.
As for the faculty and staff that have already relocated once, he said mostly likely it will be up to the deans and the employees themselves if they move again. Many now are in Diggs and Hastings.
“We’re attempting to have office space for everyone,” Carpenter said.
Originally, the College was going to rent modular trailers for temporary classrooms and office space. However, Carpenter and Mark Kramer, the College’s facilities director, looked into the former Ferguson building. Carpenter then spoke to Shelley Bains, the capital outlay program manager for the VCCS.
“I said before we get too far along in this, I think we ought to take another look at that building,” Carpenter said.
She agreed, and the state and the insurance company approved of the temporary lease.
If all goes well, the temporary space could be ready for faculty, staff and students in less than a year.