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Future of historic buildings at UConn still hanging in the balance

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STORRS--They appear to be in bad shape, with boards over windows and holes in the side, and their fate is hanging in the balance.

Nine houses on UConn’s campus, an area known as "Faculty Row,” are set to be demolished. The buildings haven't held students since 2003, and the university wants to make way for green space.

But it's not without protest.

A petition with almost 400 signatures is going around in an attempt to save the buildings because they're considered historic. They are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and were built in 1920 to house faculty members. They later held fraternities and sororities.

"It means a lot to me and I know once these resources are gone they’re gone forever,”  said Margaret McCutcheon Faber, a member of the Connecticut Historic Preservation Council said Tuesday. “They're irreplaceable and they're a part of our collective national heritage and I really feel it’s important to preserve them."

Wednesday morning in Hartford the Historic Preservation Council held its monthly meeting and the issue was up for discussion.

In June, the State Historic Preservation Office found the demolition would have an adverse effect on campus. But, the office only has the power to advise the university.

Members worked with UConn to minimize the impact by getting UConn to agree on offsetting the historic loss by doing other preservation projects on campus.

At the meeting, office members explained how and why the agreement was made to council members, whose members had questions on whether anything else could be done.

Later in the afternoon, Faber expressed frustration with the answers they were given, but said the meeting was successful in that it did buy them some time to try and save the buildings.

A UConn spokesperson said that as it stands, the university has been giving permission to proceed by the preservation office.