Wright State University

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What is the Rockafield House?

Wright State Newsroom

Wright State Newsroom

Sarah Cavender, News Writer

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At the edge of the campus there is a long driveway that leads to a cemetery and a large home, known as Rockafield House. It was built in 1969 as an on-campus home for University presidents and was the fifth building to be constructed at Wright State.

The $200,000 house sits in the middle of a hiking trail and wooded area. It could, at one time contain over one hundred people inside, having 20 rooms and 6 bathrooms.

President Schrader is the first president out of the six to not live in the house. Former President David Hopkins spent one year of his term living in the Rockafield House but moved to another home with his family. He gave the building to the Alumni Association in 2012. As the Alumni Center, the building was used to host the Alumni Association’s activities and offices.

“We hosted 175 events and meetings in the three years we had the facility,” said Greg Scharer, Executive Director of Alumni Association. “The presidential office became a library and museum with alumni artifacts on display.”

Events such as wine tastings, tailgate parties, standalone meetings, and network and social events were all held in the Alumni Center, according to Scharer.

In 2015, an 80-foot tree fell on the house, causing so much damage that the Alumni Association could no longer use the building.

“The tree was the length of the house and it fell around 3 p.m. during a work day. We were fortunate no one was seriously hurt,” Scharer said.

Materials used to build the house mostly consisted of concrete. The concrete walls prevented extensive damage caused by the tree, according to Scharer. The expenses of building materials created a cost issue for repairs, totaling around $1 million.

The Alumni Association has since moved its offices to the Foundation building across from campus and hold their events either there or at the Nutter Center.

As it currently stands, the cost of repairing the house is expected to be greater than building an entirely new structure, according to Scharer. Although it has been considered by administration, there is currently no plan to demolish the house.

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What is the Rockafield House?