College demolishes pioneer home after TBSI discontinued

A pioneer home built between 1860 and 1880, and acquired by Snow College in 2010 as a headquarters for the Traditional building Skills Institute, was torn down last week. The demolition came several years after the TBSI program was discontinued.

College demolishes pioneer

home after TBSI discontinued


By Suzanne Dean


Apr. 12, 2018


EPHRAIM—Snow College has demolished a pioneer home it had originally planned to restore as headquarters for its former Traditional Building Skills Institute (TBSI).

The house at 295 E. College Avenue, across the street from the Greenwood Student Center, was build between about 1860 and 1880. It was torn down about a week ago.

There were two reasons to demolish it, said Marci Larsen, college spokeswoman. First, TBSI, a program designed to train students in historic restoration skills, no longer exists. And second, it appeared restoration of the house might not be feasible.

The last owner of the home was Eleanor Madsen, a first-generation descendent of pioneer settlers of Sanpete County. She died in 2008 at age 95.

In 2010, the college received an $80,000 grant to purchase the house as TBSI headquarters. “This is a wonderful pioneer vernacular home, one of the original homes built out(side) of the old Ephraim Fort,” said Russ Mendenall, TBSI director.

Mendenhall’s plan was to incorporate the home into the TBSI curriculum and have students do the restoration work. “We want this to be our model home,” he said at the time. “That’s one reason the remodel is expected to take three to four years.”

However, at the time the college received the $80,000 grant it was reeling from recessionary budget cuts. The school decided to eliminate or realign several majors. TBSI was one of them.

The program was folded into the construction management major. “We still teach some of the classes,” Larsen said. “It’s just not a stand-alone institute.”

The college ended up returning the $80,000 grant and instead purchased the property from the Madsen family.

The college did evaluate the building and found the foundation to be unstable. “It wouldn’t have been possible to restore,” Larsen said.

The college anticipates assigning the land where the home was located to its Campus Services Department, which is just up the street. Campus Services may use it as a storage yard for vehicles and supplies, she said.

Another possibility might be to assign the lot to the Snow Recycling Center, which is behind and east of the Campus Services Building.

In the past, the recycling center operated on designated Saturdays. About a year ago, the center became a self-service facility, which is open five days per week during business hours.

“Our Sustainability Committee is looking into how we can use student volunteers to staff the Recycling Center,” Larsen said.

Whatever direction the college takes with the property, “We hope to put the space to good use,” she said.