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An Open Letter to Taylor University Regarding a Planned Demolition of Founders Memorial Hall

June 10, 2011

Leaders from several neighborhoods were invited to a meeting held yesterday with representatives from Taylor University.

They announced there is soil contamination from decades-old heating oil tanks. The tanks are no longer there, but the contaminated soil still is. The oil plume is under the maintenance building, parts of the parking lot and one back corner of Founders Memorial Hall. Taylor has reported this to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

Fortunately, Taylor has a goal of cleaning the site well enough for it to be used for residential purposes. Unfortunately, Taylor believes this requires the demolition of Founders Memorial Hall

Laying of the cornerstone of Founders Memorial Hall, 1942 (Photo from TUFW Alumni Resources Center website.)

(the tan brick building at the corner of Indiana and Rudisill) entirely.

That is one way to fix it. But my personal opinion is that is the quickest and easiest way out. There is another way, which I explain in my “Open Letter” to Taylor University.

I am also publishing this Open Letter as a way to advertise that there will be a “Neighborhood Meeting” with a Taylor representative at Eicher Commons at 7PM Monday for neighbors to ask questions. Please come and ask questions. This is very short notice, and I know that many of you will not be able to attend because of prior engagements like work. I am in that boat myself…

This aerial photo shows what the Fort Wayne Bible College looked like about 1950. Founders Memorial Hall is at left and was by far the dominant building on the campus. (This photo is from the Rudisill Blvd. Clutural Landscape Report, Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation website.)

This is Taylor’s property to do what they will with it, but hopefully we can appeal to their desire “to do right” by the neighborhoods that Taylor and its predecessors are leaving after a century. I appreciate their willingness to clean up the oil, but I am at odds with their choice to demolish Founders Memorial Hall within weeks.

The letter I sent to Taylor University follows:

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