UM President's empty house opens for booking
COLUMBIA - Starting Wednesday, Providence Point, the former home for University of Missouri System presidents, located at 1900 South Providence Road will be open for the public to book events in the building.
The hilltop mansion, worth an estimated $2.4 million, was recently renovated. The recent Providence Point updates cost the university more than $200,000. Although the mansion was updated, President Tim Wolfe was not interested in living there.
Wolfe and his wife moved out of the estate last fall to a different house in Columbia. He now receives a $2,400 monthly housing allowance.
Each of Wolfe's eight predecessors has lived there, and some complained the house isn't family friendly. He did indicate that he wanted to live in a more traditional home before he became president of the University of Missouri System in 2012.
An open house took place Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. UM Administrators said some have already booked an event.
The bedrooms in the house will go unused for the time being, and there are a limited amount of rooms available to be reserved.
Mary Ratchford Douglass, daughter of former UM President, President C. Brice Ratchford said she grew up in Providence Point. She said converting it to a venue is a mistake.
"The University presidents' houses were built for the purpose of hosting guests to the Universities, and Providence Point is no different," said Douglass. "When used as intended, they generate good will in exponential ways and develop funding streams not accessible in other ways. Using the house as just another venue for rental will in the long run cost the University of Missouri system dearly. Not just money, much more."
UM System Chief Communications Officer John Fougere said the UM System hopes to keep a southern hospitality feel.
"We thought it was very important to maintain the prestige and high prominence that Providence Point has enjoyed and capitalize that and continue to use it as a center for events and for groups to come to have meeting space and that type of activity, and we are very excited about the use of the residence in it's new role," said Fougere.
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