Bye bye good ole’ Bunnell house

Bye bye good ole’ Bunnell house

Every student has walked by it. Many look in the windows, but for the most part, the Bunnell home, located near the Liberal Arts building has been underused.

 

This pioneer house, one of six remaining unchanged historical buildings in Orem, is about to be moved off the campus, but this is not its first move.

 

In the late 70’s, the Bunnell house could be found near the creek where the Sparks Automotive building is now. Its current location was then the outskirts of campus. In order to make way for the new student wellness center, it will be moved early this summer.

 

Vegor Pedersen, academic advisor for the communication department has had many visions for this forgotten piece of the campus, starting when he first noticed it as a student.

 

“Five or six years ago, back when I was a student, I was walking on campus and noticed a really cool building that seemed to be underused,” Pedersen said. “My first idea was to have it be a campus cafe. There was nothing remotely like that at that time.”

 

Pedersen imagined a student run, student owned café, with many other uses such as poetry readings, and even housing a radio station but these possibilities could only be a reality with funds from the school to fix it up.

 

Many joined Pedersen’s efforts and to this day five dollars of each of paychecks go toward the Bunnell house fund.

 

President Holland joined the cause and introduced the idea of it being an interfaith chapel, specifically for Muslim students to pray during the day since, there is a group of Muslim students who currently hold their Friday prayers in the Trustees room.

 

However, when Holland and UVUSA looked into it financially, the project was deemed too much to fight for, Pedersen realized this.

 

“Many see the land under the house as more valuable than the house,” Pedersen said. “I thought, ‘if the president can’t save the house, I can’t.”

 

With all of the requirements for state owned buildings from the disabilities act and many other codes, the cost of restoration is very high. The Dean of Students and Bob Rasmussen was involved in this decision making process.

 

“It would cost a half million dollars for restoration, and there has never been the support financially,” Rasmussen said. “I believe the best decision has been achieved. It has already been moved once so there’s nothing sacred about the ground it’s on.”

 

Frank Young senior director in the Space Management Department, stated the price of moving the house.

 

“The student life center is forcing us to relocate it which will cost somewhere in the $70-100,000 range,” Young said. “It will be moved to either Nielsen’s Grove Park or Scera Park.”

 

Pedersen doesn’t think the house will make it through the moving process.

 

“I think it may just crumble when they are moving it, and I talked to some of the facility people and that’s their big worry also, but we will find out around May.”

 

Current Orem resident Helen Bunnell Weeks was literally born in the house in the 30’s. Pedersen has met her and has had tours of the house with her. He believes it will be hard for her to see it go.

 

“For the family, this is their heritage, their legacy. It will be really heard on her,” Pedersen said.

 

By Tiffany Thatcher
Asst. News Editor

Leave a Reply