- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 16, 2019

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - North Arkansas College officials are moving forward with a plan to demolish a mold-infested office tower in downtown Harrison.

The board of trustees voted last week to tear down the five story Center Campus tower after trying but failing to sell the building for four months, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. Experts projected remediation and repair would cost at least $4 million.

Randy Esters, president of North Arkansas College, said Monday that the final plan to tear down the building required a second board vote. The board also voted to sell the parking lot next to Center Campus.

Work to raze the tower won’t start before July 4 and will take six weeks, Esters said.

“I wish we could come up with a way to save the tower,” he said. “It is such a landmark and holds a lot of cherished memories for a lot of people.”

Harrison Mayor Jerry Jackson said he remembers that after the “beautiful” tower was built for Security Bank in 1981 people would go there just to ride the glass elevators. He said he hopes Center Campus can be saved.

“Nothing’s a done deal until it falls over,” Jackson noted. “We want that tower to stay. It’s the biggest tower in our town. It’s really, really a cool place. But they’ve discovered mold so now they think they have to tear it down.”

The college purchased the tower and the neighboring Durand Center in 2005 for an estimated $1.2 million, according to Boone County real estate records.

The college plans to give the Durand Center to Harrison and the city plans to use the single story conference and meeting facility as City Hall, Jackson said, adding that the city can rent out extra space in the center for meetings.

Jackson noted the college was losing money on the facility.

“It costs a lot for them to operate it whereas we will have a use for it,” Jackson added. “We will be able to operate and use it at the same time.”


Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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