A great deal of discussion has taken place, both by those for and against Washington College’s proposed plan for the Armory. As I have stated repeatedly in public, Washington College does not dispute the Armory’s status as a historic property, nor do we lack empathy for the passion expressed by those who believe deeply in preserving this building. Unfortunately, some recent publicly aired opinion has been ill-informed, and so I feel obligated to correct information that misrepresents Washington College and perpetuates false narratives. It has always been the College’s intention to respond fully to the due-diligence requests of the Historic District (HDC) and to update the community on our actions. Based on what I have read recently, I feel compelled to provide that update today.
During the HDC meeting in October, commissioners requested additional information regarding a third assessment for mold remediation issues, a structural engineering report, and insurance estimates if the existing structure were retained and remediation were implemented. Following our presentation, we thanked the commissioners and let them know that we would gather the requested information and submit it to them for review at a subsequent meeting, as the process stipulates.
To comply with these requests, Washington College has reached out to members of the HDC for their recommendations on firms to conduct mold remediation and structural engineering assessments. The College will contact these firms, arrange the appropriate assessments, and cover the cost of the work, and will provide the full reports to the HDC and the greater public.
I was disheartened by some community members’ suggestions that they should be the ones to retain the firms to do the assessments. As can be seen from their letter, which they have posted publicly, they made no attempt to work collegially with the College but instead suddenly informed us that they had retained a contractor without our participation or consent, set a date and demanded entry to the Armory. Furthermore, inherent in this effort is the assumption that any firm the College has engaged or might engage in the future would conduct their assessment with bias. I am equally saddened by the insinuation that my staff and I lack the integrity to hire a firm to conduct a fair, complete, and unbiased assessment and that the information provided to date has been somehow altered or manufactured to support our proposal. In fact, our proposal to the HDC has been—and will continue to be—a result of the information the College has obtained from these objective assessments.
The College is committed to completing the tasks requested by the HDC and compiling the additional information necessary for our second HDC appearance. All our documentation will be submitted to the HDC in advance and made available to the public. Until that time, Washington College will respond to respectful requests and engage in meaningful, constructive dialogue with all members of our community who engage with us in good faith and collegiality.
Mike Sosulski is the President of Washington College