UAPB paying $2k monthly for chancellor’s temporary residence

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Chancellor Laurence Alexander and his wife are living in a home rented for them by the university for $2,175 per month, including utilities, according to officials.

The home, at 10 Deer Horn Cove, is located in the Deerfield subdivision on the southern edge of town.

“The rental agreement runs from June 1 of this year until May 15, 2014,” said University of Arkansas System Director of Communications Ben Beaumont. “The rent is being paid for out of UAPB operational funds.

“At this point, no decision has yet been made on whether to build a new residence or to purchase a home in the community to serve as the chancellor’s residence,” Beaumont said. “If a new home is built, it will be located on the site of the former chancellor’s residence that was demolished earlier this year.”

The official residence of the UAPB chancellor for more than four decades was reduced to rubble over the course of a three-week period in May.

Beaumont said in late May that the demolition of the home located off of University Drive on Jones Street adjacent to the UAPB campus was performed by Reynolds Construction at a cost of $18,150.

“UAPB facility staff had inspected the residence and found that it had serious foundation and water problems,” Beaumont said.

Records of any previous inspections of the residence were not immediately available, Beaumont said.

The options for a replacement residence were discussed during University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees meeting from May 22-23 in Stuttgart.

“The UA Board agreed that it is more feasible to remove the old house and determine whether to build a new home or to find other options in the community,” Beaumont said.

U of A System President Donald R. Bobbitt updated the members of the UA Board Buildings and Grounds Committee on the situation at a May 22 meeting held at the UA Division of Agriculture Rice Research Center.

Beaumont said in late May that the Legislative Review Committee favorably reviewed plans by UAPB to earmark $721,625 from university facility fee reserves for the demolition of the old house and the potential construction of a new residence on the same site.

Beaumont said the U of A Board will take formal action once an official plan for a new UAPB chancellor’s residence is submitted to it for approval.

“Aside from serving as the home of the chancellor and his family, the chancellor’s residence is also a campus facility that is used for university events,” Beaumont said.

Stephanie Sims, program specialist with the UAPB Museum and Cultural Center, said the recently demolished chancellor’s residence had served in that capacity since 1969 and was home to five chancellors.

“Lawrence A. Davis Sr. was the first to move into the home in 1969 and lived there until 1973,” Sims said. “Herman B. Smith lived there from 1974 until 1981. Lloyd V. Hackley was there from 1981 until 1985. Charles A. Walker lived there from 1986 until 1991. Finally Lawrence A. Davis Jr. called the residence home for the 21-year period from 1991 until 2012.”

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