|Chancellor's Residence, circa 2003|
The Chancellor's Residence stood vacant for three years, and campus trustees and administrators began to debate the home's future. Could it be renovated, or should it be demolished to make way for new construction? In September 1999, the Board of Trustees voted to raze the building, noting that a major renovation of the home into office space would cost more money than constructing a new building and citing an opportunity for development of new office space on the valuable site.
Alumni and other concerned citizens quickly spoke up. Letters flooded into offices of campus administrators, and letters to local newspaper editors were published asking the Board to reconsider. But in 2000, the demolition recommendation proceeded with approval from the UNC Board of Governors and the Council of State. The organization Preservation North Carolina (PNC) began advocating for the residence's renovation, arguing the building's importance based upon its connection to UNCG's history, its contribution to the appearance of the campus, and the prominence of its architect. Just three weeks before the house's scheduled demolition date, UNCG administrators gave PNC until mid-2001 to raise the estimated $1.8 million necessary to relocate and renovate the building. PNC was able to privately raise the necessary funds (after a few deadline extensions), and on June 7, 2003, the 420-ton home was moved to its new location (900 feet from its old site). Private donors also funded necessary interior and exterior renovation work.
|Chancellor Sullivan and former Chancellor William E. Moran|
with the Chancellor's Residence on its moving day, 2003
In 2005, the Chancellor's Residence officially reopened as the Jane Harris Armfield and Emily Harris Preyer Admissions and Visitors Center. As PNC noted in a letter to supporters of the project, the house could continue its usefulness and "provide enticing space for student recruitment and alumni development ... [and] bear witness to the major advances in the higher education of women made during the 20th century in North Carolina, while helping shape the future of the university."