Univ. of Maryland seeking approval to demolish president’s house
Wallace Loh has been the president of the University of Maryland, College Park for a little more than a year, and now the school wants to knock his house down. He'll get another house, sure. But the decades old President's Residence -- it's tucked between University of Maryland University College and Ludwig Field, where the winning fall sports teams play -- will be no more. The University System of Maryland is seeking Board of Public Works approval to knock down the mansion, built in 1956. And it seems USM has a pretty good case to break out the wrecking ball. According to the board's agenda, the house "is no longer suitable for functioning as both a residence and as a venue for important events hosted by the president." It gets better (or worse, if you're one of the people who lives there). The president of the state's flagship institution is living in and hosting events at a house that "has not been upgraded or refurbished since 1991 and does not meet current life safety codes; is not ADA accessible; many asbestos containing materials remain; and the building is in significant repairs." If not meeting "life safety codes" sounds bad to you, you're right. The code was developed by the National Fire Protection Association to cover "minimum building design, construction, operation, and maintenance requirements necessary to protect building occupants from danger caused by fire, smoke, and toxic fumes."