West House Demolition Begins, Making Way for Arts Common

After years of debate about the fate of West House – a 1,141-square-foot structure that had straddled the parking lots behind Swain Hall and Hill Hall – the building is being torn down to make way for the University’s new Arts Common

The demolition work began on Thursday, Aug. 17, and is expected to continue into next week.

West House had been in the footprint of a planned 80,000-square-foot music building, which will face Cameron Avenue as the centerpiece of the Arts Common.

The one-story brick building was built in 1935 by Rutherfordton textile magnate Kenneth Tanner ’11 to house his sons when they entered the University.

For a building that may not have quite rated “campus landmark,” tiny West House generated a lot of emotion after a member of the University staff launched a campaign to try to save it.

Over the years, West House had been used for military training in World War II, as the first home of the computer science department and as the home of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities.

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