Regents Avenue Residents React to Losing Their Property to WKU

By: Tamara Evans Email
By: Tamara Evans Email

Some residents living on the future site a building for Western Kentucky University are happy to see the campus expand, but sad to see their homes go.

Last Friday WKU's Board of Regents approved the purchase of three properties for the future site of a new College of Education and Behavioral Science building.

WKU will use state bonds to purchase 1666, 1670, and 1680 Normal Drive. The board also approved the area bound by Normal Drive, Regents Avenue and Mimosa Alley. This means, homeowners who live in the designated area will lose their property.

"We were pretty, I guess you'd say devastated at first. You know, we'd been in the house almost 40 years," said Coach Bill Powell, WKU's Assistant Swim Coach.

From the time WKU proposed a new building that would extend down part of Regents Avenue and Normal Drive, Bill and Joey Powell were worried their property would be taken.

"It's one of those things that came as a surprise to us. We had made accommodations to this house figuring we'd stay here until we're carried out," Joey Powell said.

Now, the Powell's are preparing for a move.

"We didn't want to fight Western, after all they've gave us our living for 40 years, so we made the best of it and we're excited about building a new home," Bill Powell said.

The Powell's have both worked for the university. That's why, as much as they hate giving up their home, they're excited to see WKU's campus grow.

Now the Powell's plan on building a house similar to the one they're losing.

"We're trying to re-create what we have," Bill saidl.

"Our kids grew up here and everything and we have memories," Joey said.

As they prepare to make new memories Bill Powell said he's especially going to notice the change.

"For 40 years I have never walked over 500 steps to my work, which has been really nice," Bill said.

For the first time, he's not going to be walking to his office on campus anymore. He'll be driving.

"I told Western I wanted them to give me a lifetime pass since I've never had one. They didn't buy that though, Bill jokingly said.

The Powell's hope to have their new home built by fall and say Western plans to take over their property by the end of December 2007.

As for the new College of Education and Behavioral Science building, it will replace Tate Page Hall, which has a number of ventilation problems.

The $35 million replacement project was approved by the 2006 Kentucky General Assembly.

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