ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – It might not be imminent doom for the Incarnate Word Convent and the UMSL Alumni House just yet.

After an outcry from North County community members who want to save the historic buildings, several representatives from the university sat down with those citizens on Monday night.

Representatives from the school say they will hold off on plans to demolish the buildings.

Bel-Nor Board of Trustees Chairman Kevin Budchek says he was just happy the university started talking with the community.

“I think the biggest thing that came from tonight is we opened the lines of communication between the university and the community,” he says. “I think a lot of folks in the community felt that their voices were left out in consideration of what would happen to these two historic structures.”

UMSL Public Affairs and Economic Development Director Betty Van Uum says the university does want to be considerate of what the community wants.

“We recognize that it’s a beautiful building, but we don’t have the resources ourselves to be able to bring it back on line for anything,” she says.

St. Louis County Preservation Historian Essley Hamilton says the conversation was encouraging.

“There’s still a lot of open questions about whether this building can be saved, even given the best will in the world,” he says. “But we’re going to work as hard as we can to try to make that happen.”

The university is going to begin the process of creating a Request for Proposal for the convent property, while community members are exploring the possibility of historic preservation tax credits that could defray the cost of renovating the building.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)




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