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Facility Committee Update

Thanks to those of you who participated in the Facility Survey conducted in the spring, and/or participated in the facility informational session held on February 26, 2017.  At that time we mentioned that our lease at 1588 Hazel Drive would expire on August 31, 2019.  We want to be proactive in considering our options and not wait so as to be forced into hasty decisions.

The facilities committee met yesterday, August 18th. To keep you informed we will send updates as we are doing here. We are in the early stages of scanning and educating ourselves on GIC’s potential options, risks and opportunities. We have shared the summarized information from the faculty and alumni survey with the realtor.  We reviewed an initial pool of available properties to get a sense of the market In addition; the realtor will talk with our landlord to better understand his thinking and flexibility or lack thereof.

GIC has a long history at this location.  Since locating here in 1976 these walls hold many memories.   Our tears and laughter and the accumulation of that energy embraces us each time we walk through the doors.  Yet, the physical condition and the potential financial liability we bear should we continue to stay here are significant risks we must think through.  In 2009, with the sale of the building, we entered into a lease that requires us to maintain the building and make improvements as if we owned it. In the end we would have to walk away from that investment.

Here are some examples of the current condition of our 100+ year old house that could potentially hit us hard financially:

  • The expensive slate roof has been in need of repair for about five years and there were leaks in many rooms.  Last summer the landlord made some repairs to the roof to prevent leaks.   At some point more extensive work will be required. Further water damage is a real risk.
  • The heating system is still operating in conjunction with the original coal furnace.  The lifespan is precarious and could last ten years or one year.  Estimated replacement would be $40,000.
  • The furnace in the Kohler House is now 30 years old and the estimated life was 15 years.  We can no longer find parts for it.

Examples of other things that impact us in terms of convenience, although not financially, are:

  • Parking
  • Accessibility that accommodates physical challenges (adapting the building with lifts or elevators is not feasible in terms of space and costs)
  • Bathrooms

As we plan for the future and the sustainability of the Institute, we must consider the disproportionate amount of expenses consumed by this facility.    More usable and affordable space means we can direct our resources to additional opportunities and hopefully, spend less on the building and more on programs and faculty.

The committee working with the realtor to explore options is comprised of Amy Eugene, Board Chair; Ed Erbach, Board Member and architect, Jay Brinegar, Faculty Liaison; and Shareefah Sabur, Executive Director.  It is our intent to be as transparent as possible and keep you informed as we navigate this process.  We welcome any questions you may have.