Missouri president Wolfe to leave Providence Point

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The University of Missouri’s new president is moving out of his Columbia campus mansion as the school decides whether Providence Point should remain open.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/I5gsU2) that the 12,630 sq.-foot home needs at least $88,000 in repairs, including mold abatement, electrical upgrades and asbestos removal. Wolfe, who was hired in December 2011 and took office in February, will move out of the house while university administrators determine the 41-year-old home’s fate.

Tight finances at the four-campus system mean increased scrutiny of expenses outside the classroom, said Nikki Krawitz, the system’s vice president of finance and administration. In addition to the immediate repairs, Providence Point will soon need more extensive work such as a new roof and siding.

“Over the past 10 years with budget constraints, it’s difficult spending a dime on anything that does not directly benefit teaching,” she said. “We need to stop the investment until we know whether it’s the right direction to go in.”

Wolfe remains in the house while the university looks for replacement housing. He will likely either receive a monthly housing allowance or move into a rental home paid for by the university. Columbia campus chancellor Brady Deaton lives in a historic campus home near his Jesse Hall office, but Leo Morton, chancellor of the Kansas City campus, receives a $4,400 monthly housing allowance and stays in his longtime home across the state line in Kansas.

Earlier this month, the University of Missouri-Kansas City demolished its former chancellor’s residence to make way for a new business school for building.

In Columbia, each of Wolfe’s eight predecessors has lived at the presidential home since it was built. Providence Point will continue to be used for fundraisers and other events. Opened in 1971 and expanded 14 years later, the building has four bedrooms, eight bathrooms, offices, an exercise room and an outdoor swimming pool.

Wolfe has lived alone at Providence Point while his wife and twin teenagers remain in Massachusetts, where the Columbia campus graduate was a business executive. His family visits on weekends, and one of the home’s bedrooms has been renovated since Wolfe’s hiring.

The university system also bought a large-screen television with a sound system for the home after Wolfe moved in, since the president is expected to host Missouri athletics watch parties. Krawitz said that private donors covered the TV purchase price.

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