House Razed to Make Way for Training Facility
The Hall-Poindexter House is demolished to make way for the Indoor Training Facility. – VMI Photo by John Robertson IV.
LEXINGTON, Va., Aug. 5, 2014 – The Hall-Poindexter House was demolished this morning in preparation for the construction of the New Indoor Training Facility at the intersection of Diamond and Main streets, Phase I of VMI’s Corps Physical Training Facilities project, expected to be completed in July 2016.
The house was constructed in 1877 as part of a group of six similar houses known as Preston Row. It has not been used as a residence since the 1970s and most recently housed a first-floor barbershop before its sale to VMI in 2005.
The structure was once a part of the historic Diamond Hill neighborhood, and likely housed members of Lexington’s African-American community from its construction and through much of the 1900s. Before planning to demolish the house, VMI’s construction office made efforts to find a party willing to acquire and relocate it.
“We offered the Hall-Poindexter House up for sale to anyone who wanted to relocate it, and they had to present a plan on how and where they were going to move it,” said Col. Keith Jarvis ’82, deputy director of construction. “There were no offers at all – no interest from anybody. At that point we went through the normal process to get permits in place to demolish it.”
The house is the first of two structures slated for demolition at the construction site. The second, a concrete block structure at 309 N. Main St., formerly used as VMI’s wellness center, will be torn down later this month.
Materials salvaged from the houses will be recycled under guidelines that qualify the new training facility for LEED certification.
“The brick chimney, the fieldstone foundation, and the tin roof were the components that were worth segregating and recycling,” said Jarvis of the Hall-Poindexter House. “[309 N. Main] is almost all block, so that will be able to be … recycled.”
A third structure, the Knights of Pythias building, is being moved to VMI property on the edge of the construction site. The building is being preserved because of its historic connection with the African-American community in Lexington.
The 350-ton structure has been raised from its foundations and will be moved along Main Street during the fall semester to new foundations being prepared adjacent to Ballard and Parker Service Center.
Before that happens, the overhead utilities along Main Street, for which crews are currently installing conduit, will be buried. That effort has an estimated completion date of mid-September.
– John Robertson IV