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Water Filtration Plant

Excerpt from Building A College: An Architectural History of Berea College[1]

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Water Filtration Plant,  1956-1957

Architect: William E. Boderstein, Cincinnati, OH

Engineers: Hanley and Young,  Cincinnati, OH

R. D. Short Construction Company, Lexington, KY

Cost:  not  located

Authorized by the Trustees in 1955, this water filtration plant for the College and city of  Berea was put into service in 1957 (BTM, April 22, 1955). Construction of the filtration plant was supervised by H. A. Biggerstaff, Superintendent of Heat, Power and Waterworks. This large building was built beside the original industrial building, Edwards, close to the Power Plant and beside the Laundry. When fully automated at its completion, April, 1958, fluoride was added to the filtration system and the College applied to the Public Service Commission to increase the water rates for Madison County customers (BTM, April 11, 1958; April  14,  1961; Berea  Citizen, April 4,1956, l; September 10, 1959). Built of reinforced concrete and dressed with running bond red brick, from the west, the building appears to have the proportions of a temple. It has a pediment, cornice, entablature, and an un-broken "wrap­ around" limestone string course along the  base. The back section is a cubical multi-floor flat roofed office area with loading docks; various entrances puncture the walls of the main building. The main filtration building has industrial steel windows with reveals that appear to support the entablature.

However, to replace and improve this filtration system, a new plant below B Lake in Cow Bell Hollow was built, financed by selling bonds, and dedicated  in  1990. The  1957 building was damaged in an accidental fire during November, 1990, when its filtration systems were being dismantled ( Berea Citizen, January 14,  1988; April 28, 1988). As of 2003, discussion was on-going  as to the ultimate use to which this building would be put. It served as a storage facility, but with the sale of the Water Utility to the city of Berea, this filtration plant is now to be razed and the site landscaped to become part of the John G. Fee Memorial Glade, 2006 and beyond.

In discussion with the City of Berea, Berea College decided to leave the public utility business and put its endowment  to better use educating students. Consequently by December, 2004, the College Utilities, Water and Electrical, were sold to the City. The College retains the water shed drainages but the impounded water is now sold by the city.

 

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[1] Citation: Boyce, Robert Piper. Building A College: An Architectural History of Berea College. Self-published. Berea, Ky: Berea College Printing Services, 2006, p150-151.


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Works Cited

Boyce, Robert Piper. Building A College: An Architectural History of Berea College. Self-published. Berea, Ky: Berea College Printing Services, 2006, p34-36.

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