If you have been on social media in the past few weeks, chances are you have seen what everyone is talking about: Doyle House. If you haven’t been following, here’s the deal: Doyle House is coming down, and alumni are against it.
One of President Claude Lilly’s objectives since arriving here at PC has been to modernize buildings across campus and make the campus more aesthetically pleasing as a whole. Part of this plan has been realized through the renovation of Belk dormitory this past summer, and plans are already being made to completely renovate Neville. These changes have seen little to no response, but Doyle’s definite destruction demarcates the ends of the tolerance for change of our dear alumni.
Vacant since 1999, Doyle has become known as the “cat house” around campus. Numerous stray cats have taken up residence within and one could sometimes see up to five lounging around on its back porch, beneath the bushes beside it, or sprawled out on a sill of one of its boarded up windows. Walking near the building was met with the cats bounding away, and the smell of cat wafting towards you.
In the past few months, little has changed. In preparation for demolition, the building was condemned and all of the cats were captured and rehomed. The college had successfully applied for a permit to demolish Doyle despite its place on the Historic Register, and demolition was scheduled to begin as soon as the permit was granted on Feb. 10.
However, several alumni were upset with the decision to destroy Doyle, and did their Most Unexceptional to tear down PC’s ability to do so. A Facebook group, “Save Doyle,” was created to organize phone calls and other efforts to express their displeasure, and two alumni attempted to bring a lawsuit against the school to prevent PC from moving forward with demolition. Their attempt was in vain, as on Feb. 7, their case was thrown out as the court determined that neither alumni had standing to bring the case.
Not all is lost for the alumni’s case, however, as on Feb. 12, a letter was sent out from the chairman of the Board of Trustees, Pat Phillips, regarding the future of PC and specifically, Doyle. While pointing out that “[m]any of the recent communications received from interested alumni do not reflect awareness on the facts” regarding Doyle, it was decided that multiple meetings will be held with alumni in nearby cities to let them know of what the future changes will be, and give them a chance to speak their piece.
As of now, Doyle is safe. Will it remain that way? Probably not, according to the letter from Pat Phillips. The destruction of Doyle is simply delayed, and no language implies the decision has been reversed. Only time will tell what the outcome of the meetings will be.
The above photos are courtesy of Debbie Montgomery, Executive Director of Communications at Presbyterian College. The graffiti shown in the pictures is from haunted houses that were held in Doyle, and not from vandalism.