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University of Central Missouri
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (May 28, 2014) – An evaluation of environmental and structural issues facing Selmo Park, the president’s residence, is continuing at the University of Central Missouri, and will soon be a topic for discussion by the university’s governing board.
Through its Facilities, Planning and Operations (FPO) unit, UCM has been working with the Kansas City engineering firm Burns & McDonnell over the past two months to assess the structure’s condition, and determine the type of work needed to ensure the safest living environment possible for the university president’s family and special guests. Assessment activities began April 3, and will conclude with documentation provided to the Board of Governors in June to help determine how the university will proceed with repairs.
An initial assessment uncovered serious air quality concerns that have rendered the facility uninhabitable, and have prompted UCM President Charles Ambrose and his family to temporarily move into university-owned housing at the Greenwood Park complex. The UCM Foundation subsequently purchased property in Warrensburg for the purpose of providing a safe residence for the president’s family in a short timeframe. The house obtained by the Foundation will be leased by the university.
Selmo Park was built in 1866. Although maintenance has been an ongoing issue with the main structure, it sustained considerable damage during a severe storm which hit the Warrensburg area the first week of April 2014. A sewage backup in the basement also resulted in more than 10,000 gallons of contaminated water intrusion that also caused damage to the finished area of the home.
While the university waits to learn more about the environmental and structural assessment, FPO Director Chris Bamman said field work was finished on May 21. Preliminary observations of issues that have developed both recently and over the years include settling of the structure, crumbling mortar between the bricks, cracks in the plaster ceilings, and shifting of floors, door frames and windows. Excessive moisture also has entered the living areas leading to air quality concerns, including mold in the house and within its furnishings. Outside the main structure at Selmo Park, repairs are also needed on driveways, sewer main, and on various outbuildings.
“Based on preliminary observations, a significant investment is obviously going to be needed to make repairs to Selmo Park, but it is too early to know exactly what they will entail and what the timeframe may be,” Bamman said.
Selmo Park was purchased by the university’s governing board in 1926 at a cost of $35,000, and included a 19-acre block of land located two blocks west of the quadrangle. The 1866 structure, built by the late Edmond A. Nickerson, has remained UCM’s residence of the institution’s president since 1926. The northern part of the land that was included in the purchase eventually became Vernon Kennedy Field.