La Verne City Council OKs Leveling of Old Dormitory

A controversial plan to destroy an aging dormitory on the University of La Verne campus has been approved by the City Council despite protests from preservationist groups. No date has been set for the demolition of 66-year-old Miller Hall, although the council's action clears the way.

Vehement objections to the building's destruction were raised by a group of local residents in October, when the university's plans to put a grassy mall in its place were first announced. But La Verne Prof. David Flaten, who served as the university's planning consultant for the demolition, said structural analysis of the dormitory showed that it would cost $600,000 to $1 million to restore it.

He said no financial backing could be found for the restoration, despite the university's offer to sell the building for $1 to a renovator, who would then be expected to restore the building and lease it back to the school, receiving a substantial tax write-off before ownership reverted to the university.

The city Planning Commission had deadlocked on the issue, but on May 6 the council approved the university's plans by a 2-1 vote with two abstentions.

Flaten said Miller Hall can still be saved if financial backing can be found, although the university is no longer actively seeking it. "Up until the time the wrecking ball actually comes down we are still looking at potential options," Flaten said.

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