At its October 2017 meeting, the Ithaca College Board of Trustees made the formal decision to put 2 Fountain Place, the residence for Ithaca College presidents since 1938, up for sale.
As announced to the campus community following last May’s board meeting, trustees had determined, prior to the selection of Shirley M. Collado, that the college’s next president would not reside at Fountain Place. Collado and her husband, A. Van Jordan, are currently living in an apartment in downtown Ithaca while trustees are considering options for a future permanent home for IC presidents.
“As you might expect from a group that so recognizes and respects the history and traditions of Ithaca College, this decision was not made lightly,” said board chairman Tom Grape ’80. “We have been discussing the benefits and constraints of Fountain Place and examining our options for several years, hoping to identify a feasible means of improving how it could be used for the benefit of the college community. We ultimately determined that retaining the property for either a presidential home or for other college uses posed both financial and logistical challenges that outweighed our sentimental attachments.”
The logistical challenges include the lack of nearby off-street parking and the home’s distance from the campus, making it difficult to host events for members of the campus community and guests. The layout of the house — with a number of small rooms spread out over several stories — also limits the ability to hold gatherings that can provide a welcoming space to foster a greater sense of community for students, faculty, staff, and alumni.
“Because the building is in a historic residential district, we would always be somewhat limited in the kinds of updates and alterations we could make to Fountain Place to ensure its ongoing suitability as a home for presidents and their families as well as a venue for college events,” said Doug Weisman ’78, chairman of the board’s Buildings and Grounds Committee. “We decided that the costs to renovate and maintain it for our needs for the foreseeable future were just too great. The college has otherwise done a tremendous job of taking care of both the house and the landscape around it, and we look forward to finding a buyer who will cherish the property as much as we have done for so many years.”
Proceeds from the sale will be put toward the new presidential residence, and plans for the new residence will be shared with the community as soon as they are finalized.
“It’s been a bittersweet decision to part with Fountain Place, especially during a year in which we are celebrating the college’s proud history,” said Grape. “But I am very excited to move forward with planning for a president’s residence that meets the needs of the IC community both now and well into the future.”