Historic Stover Theater at Stetson to be leveled in August
DELAND, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -
Stetson University on Thursday released a tentative schedule of events leading up to the demolition of the historic Stover Theater. Officials decided to take a wrecking ball to the aging on-campus facility that was built during the Great Depression, with no architect and limited resources.
Stetson wants to save money, otherwise spent on maintenance and renovation of the building, and replace the theater with green space and a parking lot.
"The building does flood," Stetson University Associate Vice-President Al Allen said during a tour of the theater in June. "Putting money into this building isn't a wise use of our capital," he added.
Salvage work has been completed, and asbestos abatement began this week. The removal of asbestos will continue for several weeks with completion expected by August 7. Removal of the building is expected to begin the next day with demolition completed by August 24.
Built as the first theater on a Florida college campus, the Stover would now would cost upwards of $1.3 million dollars to preserve and more than $2 million to renovate into a more modern theater, according to school officials.
To save the old building, the university says they tried to raise the money to renovate it, but donors only provided 5 percent of what Stetson needed. That's why university leaders are ready to just tear the whole thing down.