Manchester admin building
Bricks from the Administration Building will be set aside for those who would like to keep a piece of the historic building.
Photo by MU

Demolition of Retired Administration Building Complete

Sam France

Demolition of the retired Administration Building on College Avenue has recently been completed. The area remains fenced off and workers have been dismantling the building section by section over the past weeks.

The building—which is actually three buildings joined together—has served different generations of Manchester students. Bumgerdner Hall (1889) towards the east and the Bible school building (1895) towards the west were connected by the middle portion, which was finished in 1920.

Classes stopped being held there in 2012 when more modern, accessible classroom buildings were renovated, but there were still offices remaining until 2019, when bricks fell from the building and a substantial leak was found on the roof. According to the university website, in November 2021, the Board of Trustees voted to demolish the building, something they had been considering for around three decades before a decision became unavoidable. It will cost roughly $550,000 to take the building down.

Students have mixed reactions to seeing the building go. First year student and North Manchester native, Jacob Caudill, has grown up with the building in town. “I think it’s sad that it is being destroyed and not being preserved because it has been a root in the community for so long,” he said. “It has always been a staple in the community for people who have always lived here. I remember riding my bike as a kid around town and seeing the Administration Building as cool because it was the ‘old building.’”

Alumna Rebecca Ramer has fond memories of the Ad Building. “It was an awesome building with character to it,” she said. “With that being said I understand why it’s being torn down.” Ramer graduated in 1993 and noted that the majority of her classes were in that building.

Senior Jaylen Parker remembers when the building was no longer available to students. “It’s like a historical landmark and it’s the first building built for the school, so it has some historical value,” he said. “But at the same time, it is really run down, and in my sophomore year there was a brick that fell off the roof. I feel like it is a bad thing and a good thing.”

Izzy Dittmar, a sophomore transfer, doesn’t have context for the building, which affects her perception of it. “It doesn’t really have any significance to me because I have no prior knowledge of the building,” she said.

Koryn Kinnaird, a junior, had a somewhat different perspective. “I think it's dumb to tear it down until we have a good thing to replace it with,” she said.

After the remains of the building are cleared away, there will be a greenery area with the Manchester fountain surrounded by benches and large oak trees. As MU’s website notes, there will be bricks set aside for anyone that wants a memorable piece of the building. If you would like a brick, you can email, just to be sure there are enough for everyone who wants one. Manchester will also be constructing a new chime tower on the mall while honoring the Administration Building. There will be a dedication to the chimes’ 100th year during Homecoming 2022.

The University had gone over solutions to save the Administration Building, but it was estimated to cost $7.5 million to renovate. The cost for that would have gone through future and current students, which is opposite of the goal to keep Manchester University affordable. The University considered renovating the building for new housing for students, restoring, and a government grant. All of those options would have too big of a financial impact to complete. Manchester took care of the building for as long as possible, as it was built more than a century ago. There are many problems with the building other than old structuring such as asbestos and lead in old pain, no central heating or cooling, mold, and even animals finding their way in. Furthering the choice to tear it down, in 2012 Manchester renovated the Academic Center with new classrooms, offices, Sisters Café and the Admissions office.

Manchester held a memorial for the Administration Building on Jan. 21 in the Chapel on campus. The University also invites alumni and others to send memories about the building to same email from above. The university will share the memories to the school’s website to honor the Admin. Building.