DORM RENOVATION TOO COSTLY
Central Baptist College began demolition Wednesday on Williams Hall, the building that served as the men’s dormitory since the 1960s.
Constructed in 1964 and named for former CBC Bible department chairman Errol Williams, the dorm was home to many men who went on to be ministers, business people and leaders in their respective communities.
The school is opening a new residence hall, Dickson Hall, this fall. It will be a 150-bed dual dorm with men on one side and women on the other side separated by a large common lobby area with space for games, lounging, movies and group study.
As the machinery began ripping down the walls of Williams Hall on Wednesday, CBC President Terry Kimbrow said the building was falling into disrepair, and the school’s master plan included a renovation of the dorm. However, a second look determined that plan was less than feasible.
“When we looked at the condition of it with our architects, it wasn’t worth it. It would have cost more to renovate it than to replace it,” Kimbrow said.
Vice President for Advancement Sancy Faulk said the 110-bed dorm had community bathrooms on the ends of each floor and cinderblock walls, both of which limited the building’s capacity for being remodeled into a modern dorm.
“It’s best to put those funds into something else,” she said.
She added the school completed a master facilities plan in 2010, but it has changed so much it will have to be revisited soon. In the short term, the area will be seeded with grass and used for green space, she said.
Ben South, associate pastor for education and missions at Central Baptist Church in Conway, attended CBC and lived in Williams Hall in the late 1990s. He was among those who stopped by the college on Wednesday to watch the demolition.
“There was a lot of late night pizza ordering and studying Greek until 2 in the morning,” he said.
South had the rare experience of being a resident in the dorm and later becoming a resident director. He and his wife, Amy, served in the resident director’s position for the first year and a half they were married, he said.
“It was a neat experience because we loved the campus, but it was also difficult to be newly married and suddenly have 70 sons.”
Jeff Riddle, chair of the physical education department at CBC, lived in Williams Hall in the 1980s.
He said, “There are a lot of memories, lifelong friendships made, a lot of fun, a lot of pranks that people pulled. There were tide slides on the third floor — a lot of people would know what that means. They would wet the floor and take a running start and just slide all the way down the hall. Sometimes guys would just gather in a room and visit and talk about everything from theology to girls. And then there are other stories that probably shouldn’t be told.”
He added, “Most people aren’t too sad to see it go. It doesn’t have the historical value that a lot of college buildings do.”
(Staff writer Rachel Parker Dickerson can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)