By Robert Lucke
The chancellor's house at Montana State University-Northern is to be completely demolished this fall, according to Chancellor Alex Capdeville.
The house, located next to the Highland Cemetery, was scheduled to be rebuilt last spring after a water leak caused the bedroom and garage wing to sink into the soft ground of the hill it sits on.
All that changed when college officials noticed that settling has occurred in the part of the structure still standing.
"A contractor came through along with several subcontractors and we actually did get a bid of around $230,000 to replace that wing and that was without counting an additional $30,000 for reinforced pilings under the house," said Capdeville. "They then saw settling in the original portion. Architectural engineering came in and said that we should either build another house in that location or buy a suitable house somewhere else.
"I walked through the house myself. The living room floor had a grade like this," he said, gesturing at a slant. "I wondered if that hadn't been there for awhile and we had just missed it. Or tear down half of a house, sometimes other things happen with the part that is still standing."
The rest of the house will be demolished but what to do after that is still up in the air.
"We have thought about selling the property. It is a good location," said Capdeville, who is temporarily living in a house the state is renting from the MSU-Northern Foundation. "Or we could build something on it for us. There is lots of privacy up there and lots of parking there too. We would probably have to spend in the neighborhood of $300,000 and we would have a good house in a great location."
Northern has not ruled out buying elsewhere in the Havre area.
"There are some homes in the area that we are considering, and I want to emphasize that we haven't ruled out building," Capdeville said.
As to a timeframe, Capdeville said the demolition of the old house will take place this fall and he expects to be in his new quarters by next summer.