The Ithaca College Board of Trustees has decided in its October meeting to put 2 Fountain Place, formerly the president’s mansion, on the market.
According to Zillow.com, a real estate website that provides estimates of home and property values, Fountain Place is worth approximately $1.8 million.
In a statement the board released on Oct. 20 through Intercom, chairman Tom Grape ’80 said the mansion was too costly to maintain and that this issue overshadowed the college’s sentimental attachment to the property. The announcement follows the board’s decision made in May that the mansion would not be Ithaca College President Shirley M. Collado’s place of residence.
In the 2015–16 budget, more than $30,000 was allocated for repairs of the mansion, most of which went to repair a leaky roof. The money from the sale will be used to purchase the new presidential residence, according to statement made on Oct. 20.
According to the statement, a scarcity of off-street parking near the mansion and its distance from the campus, both of which made it difficult to host campus events at the president’s home, also contributed to the board’s decision. The layout of the house also restricted the college’s ability to hold gatherings there, as it has small rooms with limited amount of gathering space.
Carol Bushberg, real estate broker and owner of Carol Bushberg Real Estate, said there are a variety of possibilities in regard to who, or what entity, may purchase the mansion. She said the property is located in the East Hill Historic District in a residential zone, which means it cannot be used for commercial purposes.
“It is very likely that that building, when sold … may be purchased by another entity like Cornell University,” Bushberg said. “I’m just speculating. The use of it will probably not change very much from the current use of it. In other words, it will likely be used as a mansion as a luxury residence by the next owner.”
David Maley, senior associate director of media relations, said via email that the board has not yet decided on the price at which the mansion will be sold.
Stanley Seltzer, associate professor in the Department of Mathematics, said he has been to many events at the mansion during his years teaching at the college. He said that although he understands the reasons behind the board’s decision to sell Fountain Place, he believes that the new president’s home will lack Fountain Place’s historical significance.
“It may well not have the same connection to the community,” Seltzer said. “Again, this building has been here for a long time — you know, sort of a part of the fabric of Ithaca. And so it does, in some respect, lose a connection to the city of Ithaca.”