The EKU Board of Regents voted 9 to 1 to accept the state’s offer to transfer ownership of White Hall State Historic Site Friday afternoon in the Black Box Theatre at Center for the Arts.
Under the motion passed by the Board, EKU will conduct a review after two years to determine if ownership is in the university's best interest. The deed contains a reversionary clause that would let EKU return the property to the state if needed, Chair Lewis Diaz said.
Concerns arose from several Board members about the condition of the site, which has a leaking problem and needs maintenance work on the roof and windows. Faculty Regent Richard Day voted “a reluctant no” against the transfer and said he worried that it would compete with other auxiliaries and priorities in times of decreased funding. Day did not agree with Regent Juan Castro’s comment on “taking a chance” on White Hall and said the university should be cautious, he said.
David McFaddin, senior vice president of operations and strategic initiatives, said EKU would not restore the property beyond the needed maintenance work. Finance and Administration Vice President Barry Poynter said staff had done a walkthrough inspection and found the property to be functional and useable.
Castro suggested a nonprofit-like approach in funding the property as an auxiliary, such as the university hosting one event a year to raise funds.
Brian Wilcox, associate vice president of facilities services and capital planning has not yet reviewed the site, Poynter said.
McFaddin said White Hall provides academic and tourism opportunities, as well as opportunities for revenue.
“I think we’ll be short-sighted if we don’t do that,” McFaddin said.
More details on Friday’s Board of Regents meeting are coming soon at easternprogress.com.