In 2017, the university bought the Wind Hill estate across from campus on Ferry Road. The university currently has no plans for the grand estate. However, it has a lot of potential.
“I think it’s a beautiful piece of land,” said Director of Capital Projects and Planning Bill Seymour. “I think it has significant potential to support university programs.”
The 17-acre waterfront property cost $6,750,000, according to Lila Delman Real Estate, the realtor who sold the property. It includes six buildings and a deep-water dock. The largest building, a 10-bedroom mansion, was built in 1890. There are two other houses on the land, and a number of outbuildings like a garage and stable.
While the mansion is over 100 years old, the university has no plans of tearing it down.
“No, we’re not taking them down," Seymour said. “I think the historical implications of the buildings would preclude us from [removing the buildings].”
“We may add footprint, we may add building structure to that property. Or at least propose too,” he said.
He says the property is currently zoned residential, which would have to change if the school wanted to build anything there.
“It is currently zoned residential, that has some implications for reuse,” he said.
“Any potential reuse will require those buildings to be brought up to code,” according to Seymour. He also mentioned there are some engineering students looking into doing that.
If the school began to use the property, students and staff crossing the street could become an issue. Seymour said the school is looking into having a tunnel or pedestrian overpass to solve that problem.
Some students on campus have ideas for what the property could turn into.
Senior Angeli Tillett said a tap house would be a good idea.
“They could serve all local beers," Tillett said.
“I think that the students should definitely be involved,” she said. “At the end of the day, it’s going to give students a lot of hands on experience.”
Junior Tatevik Khachatryan wants a waterfront café there. She also said architecture students could be involved in designing it.
Whatever ends up happening with the property, it will be many years down the road. While the five-year campus master plan will be released toward the end of this year, Seymour said the Wind Hill property probably will not be a big focus of it.
“Whatever we do there, it going to take a fairly significant effort," Seymour said.