Old Co-Op Building to be Demolished

By: Carly Stephenson Email
By: Carly Stephenson Email

HARRISONBURG, Va. -- The old Rockingham Cooperative building on Grace street won't be there for long.

The building, which has been owned by James Madison University since 2010, is going to be torn down.

James Madison University employees bought the property in 2010 for $12,000,000.

Egle said partially renovating the building would cost millions more.

Senior Director of Communications at JMU Don Egle said the building is going to be torn down to make space for additional parking.

Crews from D.H. Griffin Companies will start preparing the building for demotion in the next few weeks.

Egle said the building is not in good condition. The decision is based on a feasibility study.

The study looked into keeping the building, but found that doing so would hinder other long standing capital projects.

The cost of that demolition is $382,100. It would have cost $30,000,000 to renovate the building.

Norman Wenger, the Executive Vice President of the Rockingham Cooperative commented on the demolition.

"I'm really disappointed that the building has to come down... There's been a building there since the '30s, one that's certainly [of] historic significance to the agricultural community in the area as well as to the town. However having said all that, I understand the full economics of the decision James Madison University [employees] made and understand why it needs to come down and why it doesn't make sense to renovate it. I'm just disappointed that it has to turn out that way," Wenger said.

Egle understands emotional ties to the building.

I know that's tough sometimes when people have some sort of tie to a building but it's not in good condition. And the kind of money we're talking about to bring that building up to a point where it actually can be utilized by the university, the cost is just too large," Egle said.

The construction company will demolish the building by May 2013.
Egle said they're working on what the long term plans will be.

They're looking into something that would connect the campus. The area where the building is now would be of use, since it sits by Memorial Hall and the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts.

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