Brigham Young University’s Amanda Knight Hall, which was slated to be demolished with a replica built in its place, is for sale.
“We are thrilled, and we are so appreciative of BYU that they would entertain this as an option,” said David Amott, the programs director for Preservation Utah.
BYU announced in June 2018 its plans for Amanda Knight Hall. The announcement was followed by a statement from Preservation Utah expressing disappointment in the decision and calling plans to build a replica an “insufficient substitute” for the original structure. The organization stated the building could be used and a private developer could become involved in the project.
The building, located at located at 800 N. University Ave. in Provo, is listed for sale to see if the university can find an investor who is willing to work with the Provo City Landmarks Commission to repurpose and preserve the structure, according to a disclosure statement about the property.
“BYU has determined that AKH (Amanda Knight Hall) cannot be renovated for a suitable University purpose but that a replica of AKH could be built that would meet University needs,” the disclosure statement reads. “The replica option is not popular with some Provo residents and members of the Commission, as it does not preserve the original facade of the building.”
If an arrangement can’t be made, the university plans to proceed with its plans to demolish the building and build a replica.
The Amanda Knight Building was built in 1939 to house students. It later housed missionaries before becoming an overflow space.
The disclosure statement lists information about the state of Amanda Knight Hall and states that the building is seismically rated as very poor, that a renovation would require the addition of an elevator and an elevator shaft in the middle of the structure, that the roof is failing and has asbestos, that exterior walls are not insulated and that windows would need to replaced. The electrical system would also need to be upgraded, new wiring would be required, the boiler needs to be replaced and the sewer main and hot water piping would need to be replaced.
A renovation that preserves the exterior facade and allows the building’s interior to be functional is estimated at $10 million, according to the statement.
Amott said he has reservations about the $10 million renovation estimate. He said if the building is placed on the National Register of Historical Places, it would qualify for tax credits that would significantly reduce the cost of a renovation.
Amott said he knows of one developer who wants to make the building into student housing.
The building was previously listed on the Provo Landmarks Commission local historical register without the university’s approval and was removed from the list in 2002.
Preservation Utah has been gathering community support to save the original building since learning this summer of BYU’s plans to demolish Amanda Knight Hall.
“It is one of Provo’s landmark buildings, architectural treasures,” Amott said. “We were surprised by the announcement.”
He said building a replica of the building is putting form over substance and would miss the building’s layers of memories and history.
“No replica built in 2019, or whenever they’d start on it, would replicate the craftsmanship and the detail and just the spirit of the age that is embodied in the building that dates to the year in which this building dates,” Amott said.