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Feds and three-year-old covenant put brakes on house demolition

February 18, 2002

Austin Peay's plans to raze the Drane-Foust House have been derailed by the National Parks Service and a grant accepted by the University three years ago.

APSU officials had planned to construct a 300-bed housing unit on the property located at 319 Home Ave. But in a meeting with state officials, including representatives of the Tennessee Historical Commission, they learned that the University's acceptance of a $40,000 National Parks Service grant to reroof the home required that it remain intact for another seven years, 10 years in all.

The Park Service also warned that about $700,000 in annual federal grant money to the state could be put in jeopardy if the covenant is not enforced. Simply repaying the money wasn't an option, according to Herbert Harper, the Tennessee Historical Commission's executive director.

At one time, APSU president Sherry Hoppe thought the Foust House might be used as a faculty club or international house. But an inspection by state facilities staff and consulting engineers confirmed the home would need extensive and costly renovation. One estimate for the repairs ran as high as $1.5 million.

Architect Lane Lyle has been asked to relocate the planned residential facilities away from the house. Plans for the project, which is to be completed by Fall 2003, should be put out for bid in April, with construction to begin in May.