EDITORIAL: Ford Hall may be worth renovating
Demolishing building may not be in U.'s best interest
Built in 1915 and one of Rutgers’ oldest landmarks, Ford Hall on the College Avenue campus is slated by the administration to be demolished. The building, which once acted as a dormitory, was constructed with a donation of $110,000 by former Board of Trustees member John Howard Ford and was designed by Bertram Goodhue, a historically renowned architect. Located across the street from the new Hillel House and not far from The Yard @ College Avenue, Ford Hall does well to bring the old feel of Voorhees Mall to the increasingly modernized College Avenue. In response to word of its intended destruction, a petition has been created to preserve the building, which has already garnered more than 300 signatures.
In 2013, fire inspectors, in addition to the construction code, concluded that Ford Hall was simply too unsafe to act as a dormitory anymore. What the administration plans on putting in Ford Hall’s place after its demolition is still unknown, but what is for sure is that the University has deemed it not worth preserving. University Facilities and Capital Planning analyzed the building’s potential and decided that renovations are cost-prohibitive as a result of its old age and interior structure. Presumably, the administration believes the most practical, prudent and worthwhile thing to do is destroy it and put a new and modern building in its place. But it is not necessarily obvious that doing so is the best move.
While modernizing our campus is undoubtedly a positive thing to an extent, there is still much to be said for our very own historical landmarks. Considering the University’s goal of continuing growth and expansion, when prospective Rutgers students come to tour the campus they are no doubt drawn in by the old and traditional buildings, such as those around Old Queens and Voorhees Mall. Not only are they beautiful, but subconsciously those types of buildings give people an idea of the school’s long-established history of exceptional education. And that being said, the fact that Ford Hall sits directly on College Avenue is important to note. When a prospective student walks down College Avenue, they get a taste of all of what is great about Rutgers — the old and the new. They see the Sojourner Truth Apartments, the new Hillel House and directly across the street they see the beautiful and classically designed Ford Hall. It is likely that this old and new layout could work as an effective advertisement for our University, and, as should go without saying, we want the best and brightest students in the country to be drawn to Rutgers.
With all of that said, money is still always an issue. We cannot always have our cake and eat it too — it must come down to our priorities, which obviously may vary based on whose perspective you take. Addressing our practical needs, like adjustments and additions to the bus system’s fleet and new parking decks, for example, may entail giving up other things that we like but which cost us money, such as Ford Hall. On the other hand, keeping Ford Hall could be worthwhile in the long run, because a school’s history can have a lot to do with its future.
The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority of the 150th editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.