A divided Board of Public Works gave wrecking crews the green light Wednesday to demolish the 55-year-old home of the president of the University of Maryland, College Park to make way for a new $7.2 million building that will serve as a residence and a location for large events.
The board voted 2-1 to allow the College Park Foundation to move forward with its plans to replace the home, with Comptroller Peter Franchot opposed. Foundation officials contended the existing 1956 structure is obsolete, hadn't been renovated since 1991 and could not meet contemporary building or safety codes.
Franchot contended that the current residence is a "beautiful building" that is much younger than the homes many Marylanders live in. He said the proposal was emblematic of a "disposable" society and comes at a time when the university has been eliminating athletic programs because of a scarcity of funds.
"It doesn't strike me as a paramount priority," he said. "It doesn't look good."