ASU closing Broyhill Center for good
by Anna Oakes
Appalachian State University
administrators made a final decision this summer to shut down the Broyhill Events Center on campus
after determining it would be too costly to renovate or maintain the building at this time,
“At the end of the day, it was a
cost-benefit analysis,” said Dino DiBernardi, associate vice chancellor for student
development at ASU.
Formerly the Broyhill Inn and Appalachian
Conference Center, the building located atop Bodenheimer Drive was built in 1973 and financed
primarily by private donations. It has 20 function rooms and 83 guest rooms.
A year ago, ASU announced plans to close the center and study the option of
converting its hotel rooms to dorm rooms. Later, the university decided to continue using the
facility for campus events, but community uses — such as weddings, conferences and meetings
— were discontinued after the fall 2011 semester.
report from an architectural and engineering firm found that converting the Broyhill’s hotel
rooms to dorm rooms and bringing the entire building up to code would cost approximately $14
“When we determined that the financial return on
that was not going to pay off, we determined not to use it for that,” DiBernardi
In the spring, Chancellor Ken Peacock formed a committee
to study the best use for the building. Its report, released in May, concluded that the costs of
maintaining the facility were unjustified given the university’s other construction
priorities, DiBernardi said.
The center will continue to host
campus events through December. In January, an addition to the Plemmons Student Union is expected
to open, with a number of programming and meeting spaces that will supplant the event spaces
formerly used at the Broyhill.
“We feel like we can handle
the events in the student union,” he said.
mechanic and custodian positions at the Broyhill are temporary positions that will not continue
after the center closes, DiBernardi said. Other staff at the building are employed by the Office
of Student Development and will be reassigned across campus.
is working to find a new home for its new fermentation science program, which is currently housed
on the bottom floor of the Broyhill. Once that happens, the university will shut off utility
service to portions of the building.
Future uses of the
building or property remain uncertain.
unanswered question … what’s the best use of that building or site?” said
DiBernardi. ASU must decide whether to renovate the building or raze the building and repurpose the
The student union, even when expanded, cannot host
community events because it is funded by student fees and designed for campus use only, he said.
The loss of the Broyhill has created a vacuum in available facilities for large events, which
“I have no doubt that the community has had to struggle,” he said, but “community events will continue to find another option.”