U of A receives 38 applications to purchase and relocate historic Ring Houses to avoid demolition

If buyers can’t move forward with a sale, the university will move forward with demolition

Ring House 1 at the University of Alberta on Feb. 8, 2021. The university has received 38 applications to purchase and relocate the homes to prevent demolition.Ring House 1 at the University of Alberta on Feb. 8, 2021. The university has received 38 applications to purchase and relocate the homes to prevent demolition. Photo by David Bloom /Postmedia

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The University of Alberta has received 38 requests to buy and relocate the four historic Ring Houses that are up for demolition.

The four houses were constructed in the early 1900s as original university buildings and served as homes for school presidents and deans as well as the site of Museum and Collection Services and the University of Alberta Press.

Up for purchase throughout February for $1, the Ring House sale is now over and the university is going through the 38 applications. Spokesperson Hallie Brodie said the buyers will be responsible for relocation costs of the homes and all their contents and so this review process is necessary to ensure these requirements can be met.

“We are now in contact with those who submitted applications to discuss all probable relocation costs, safety considerations, and logistics. We hope to know in the coming weeks whether or not any potential buyers will be able to move forward with the relocation of one or more of the houses,” Brodie said in a statement to Postmedia.

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“While the houses themselves only cost a dollar, any buyer would need to take on all the moving costs and responsibilities. This is what we are now ensuring each applicant considering a purchase understands and that they are responsibly able to take on purchase and relocation. It will be up to the potential buyers to decide whether or not they want to move forward to a complete sale.”

If buyers can’t move forward with a sale, the university will move forward with demolition.

Ring House 3, left, and Ring House 4 at the University of Alberta on Feb. 8, 2021.Ring House 3, left, and Ring House 4 at the University of Alberta on Feb. 8, 2021. Photo by David Bloom /Postmedia

The Ring Houses were decommissioned over the last two years as a result of constant maintenance issues and the utilities have been turned off.

But many university community members are calling for a halt to the removal plans of the structures because of their history to the school. An online petition to suspend the removal for at least one year has more than 2,200 signatures.

Ellen Schoeck, former director of the University Secretariat, said the homes won’t have the same ties to the history of the school if they are relocated throughout Edmonton.

“It was surprising to me how many people who signed that petition told little stories about their links to those houses and I think those links would be broken if the houses go off campus,” she said.

The university said the plan is to convert that part of the campus site into green space after the homes are removed.

  1. Ring House 4 at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton Monday Feb. 8, 2021.

    Opinion: Shameful to demolish U of A’s historic Ring Houses

  2. Ring House 2 at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton Monday Feb. 8, 2021. The University is proposing to demolish the four Ring Houses as a cost cutting measure.

    Opinion: U of A’s Ring Houses contain the school’s DNA

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