After two decades of vacancy, neglect, fires and leaks, in 2010 the City of Muncie awarded a contract to have the structure at 117 N. Jefferson St. in downtown Muncie demolished. At the same time, Duncan Campbell’s students in AR506 were deciding their final projects. Past projects took the students to Indianapolis, but this class wanted to tackle something closer to home. Campbell had completed some preliminary financial work for the building with the intent of possibly rehabilitating it himself. “Since the financial feasibility was complex and not very promising,” remarked Campbell and thinking the class could show the benefit in saving the building, he suggested the location to them.
Students formed working committees and determined the goals for the project, as well as, an overall scope of inquiry for each committee member. Committees included; financial feasibility, interior reconfiguration, interior and exterior condition analysis, recommendations for the work to meet Secretary of Interior's Standards, and extensive recommendations for reviving the surrounding neighborhood. Added to this were floor plans, both existing and proposed, full photographic documentation and elevation drawings of the existing building and proposed rehabilitated building.
Once the project was complete, the class presented their findings and recommendations at City Council Chambers to members of city staff and interested parties. "The students helped turn the tide of public opinion," said Bill Morgan, the city's historic preservation officer. “I hope everyone in the community will begin to see the city’s historic buildings as an asset rather than a liability,” Beth Bjorklund, a student who worked on the project stated. “Hopefully this will improve the public’s opinion about historic preservation and lead to more positive changes in the downtown.”
Scott Boyce, doing business as the Base Group and S. A. Boyce Corp., received a half-a-million-dollar loan from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Muncie community Development Office to fund most of the renovation. The completion of the project was celebrated during an open house on February 8, 2012.
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