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Demolition of Wetherby Gymnasium delayed while MSU officials eye taking down another building

Samantha Morrill

Morehead State University’s Lawrence W. Wetherby Gymnasium has experienced a demolition delay. Officials said it's due to the cancellation of the City of Morehead’s lease on the adjoining Laughlin facility. Without the lease, officials said the Robert Laughlin Health Building will go unused as programs have moved into newer facilities. Now, the school has the opportunity to demolish both structures.

Kim Oatman, Chief Facility and Operations Officer at MSU, said the school would save money by doing just that.

“There would be some, you know some cost-saving measures if we did them both at the same time because there’s a joining wall between Wetherby and Laughlin; and have to do a little work if we’re going to keep Laughlin, but we wouldn’t have to do that if we’re taking Laughlin down too,” said Oatman.

Oatman said officials are still evaluating the demolition of Laughlin.

“One kind of important critical item is that there’s a room that’s kind of between Laughlin and Wetherby that has electrical switch gear that serves other buildings, and we’ll have to keep that, so we’re evaluating how we can do that,” said Oatman.

Laughlin currently houses the MSU Police Department. Oatman said they are still evaluating options for the Police Department and nothing is firm yet.

The facilities leader added that Wetherby and Laughlin, built in 1956 and 1967 respectively, were going almost completely unused by MSU. He said Wetherby had several structural issues including leaks and the need for a new roof.

Oatman said the project could be finished this calendar year, but no dates have been set. There are no plans yet for the space once demolition is complete.