Update on Sain House
Posted July 13, 2012
(The following is a letter from Ray Broadhead, Head of School, concerning the Sain House.)
Many members of the Webb community are already aware that Webb razed the “Sain House” this week. Such change on any campus can be very emotional, and I want to explain to you, some of the stakeholders of Webb, the rationale behind this decision. In all of our discussions, we always considered the historical nature of the building, while looking at Webb’s future.
When we purchased the house three years ago, we had every intention of remodeling this historic house. It was shown to me as a possible Head of School residence when I was hired for this position. We also considered renovating it to become a new Alumni Center.
Sadly, as we gathered more information about renovating the Sain House, these hopes were not to be realized. After consulting with structural engineers, architects, housing inspectors, and local contractors, we learned that the foundation and support could not take the necessary load to be used as an office building. Additionally, for use as a faculty residence, it would have required too many upgrades to be financially feasible. We had numerous conversations with the mayor and other city officials about the house as we considered its use. We explored other options such as moving it to another location, but the structural support issues negated that option as well.
In April, the Board of Trustees, after considering all of the options, voted to raze the house this summer, after salvaging what we could from the house. In the end, we salvaged much of its beautiful oak wood and other worthy finishes to use in a future building, and demolished what was left.
As of now, we have no plans for that area, but the building was deteriorating and was inhabited by animals. We felt it best to remove it, rather than have it deteriorate even more.
I understand that some of you, especially those with Bell Buckle ties, are upset about this decision. I hope that you can understand that this was a very thoughtful decision, and we did our best to preserve history.