Gannon University has purchased the Loyal Christian Benefit Association building – located at the corner of Seventh and Peach streets – as part of a master plan to revamp the the campus.
LCBA had been hoping to sell the 18,000-square-foot building for some time, in an effort to downsize.
Linda Wagner, vice president of finance and administration, said the not-for-profit insurance company approached Gannon as an obvious potential purchaser of the building, given its location in the heart of campus.
Wagner said she went with Gary Garnic, the associate vice president of campus services, and Ward McCracken, the dean of student development, to tour the building before purchase and see if it would be worth Gannon’s dime.
Wagner said the building’s proximity to Gannon and good condition made it an excellent investment.
Gannon laid out $727,500 to purchase the building – funds the university took out of its “savings account,” or cash reserves, Wagner said.
The LCBA building is a well-constructed, three-story, steel and brick structure, Garnic said.
Each floor has about 7,000 square feet of space.
Windows on the upper floors overlook the campus and the city.
“It’s a nice open floor plan,” Garnic said.
“It could be updated to fit just about anything.”
Wagner said one of the building’s uses will probably be a new home for the Schuster Art Gallery.
The gallery is currently located on the third floor of Nash Library.
The university has been looking to move the gallery ever since architects – hired to give advice as part of the master plan – said the library wasn’t an ideal setting for the gallery.
Wagner said the current third-floor location makes it hard for people to know the gallery exists.
People who know about it don’t visit unless they’re already headed to the library for another reason, she said.
“It just doesn’t get a lot of visibility,” Wagner said.
The library doesn’t offer a lot of close parking for visitors, which is another drawback for having the gallery there, Wagner said.
After much brainstorming – between faculty, staff and university President Keith Taylor, Ph. D. – the first floor of the LCBA building was picked as an ideal place for the gallery to move, Wagner said.
“The first floor has a delivery area,” Garnic said.
“That could be a receiving area, if there was an art gallery over there.”
The additional floors might be used for office space for the theater and communication arts department faculty, Wagner said.
Currently the LCBA is still leasing out some space in the building for employee offices until it can find a smaller place to set up shop.
The new building purchase is part of a wider, long-term initiative to give Gannon’s campus a facelift. One other aspect of this project is the newly constructed freshman residence, North Hall.
Future plans include the construction of two other buildings, revamping Nash Library and the Carneval Athletic Pavilion and putting new lighting, signage, brick walkways and street furniture around campus.