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Remaining Wherry building could become bath house

One-story brick building had been slated for demolition

By Robert Brauchle, rbrauchle@dailypress.com | 757-247-2827

December 26, 2012

HAMPTON — A lone Wherry housing apartment building originally scheduled to be demolished in December will remain standing and could be renovated into a bath house.

Building 300 is a single-story duplex built on Fort Monroe in the early 1950s. The brick veneer building was saved from demolition because it could be renovated to serve visitors to the property, Fort Monroe Authority Executive Director Glenn Oder said.HAMPTON — A lone Wherry housing apartment building originally scheduled to be demolished in December will remain standing and could be renovated into a bath house.

The authority had hired a contractor to demolish 31 Wherry housing buildings along Fenwick Road.

Oder called the demolition and change in landscape “exciting and dramatic.”

While numerous Wherry housing buildings had sustained damage in 2011 during Hurricane Irene, a Daily Press investigation revealed the Army had concerns about asbestos, lead paint and water damage in the units for at least a year prior to the storm.

By December 2010, a disaster, recovery, restoration and construction firm had estimated the 31 Wherry buildings would require about $4.8 million in renovations to become inhabitable.

Tenants were eventually relocated and leases for the units were not renewed.

Now that 30 of the 31 buildings have been razed, Oder said he believes the remaining building could be renovated to provide showers, a kitchen and restrooms.

Visitors could pay to secure the building for a day or weekend, meaning the building could generate revenue for the Fort Monroe Authority, he said.

Order said the Fort Monroe Foundation — a non-profit organization set up to raise funds for Fort Monroe — could lead the bath house project, although a cost and definitive plans have not yet been made.

Copyright © 2012, Newport News, Va., Daily Press

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