January 30, 2013

Dickinson to Purchase Church


Carl Socolow ’77 / The Dickinsonian

Allison Church was recently offered to Dickinson.
After months of negotiation and talk, Dickinson College has finally pushed forward to purchase a new piece of property for the college’s campus.

Allison United Methodist Church, after following through with plans to move its location in the wake of a merger with other local churches, approved a bid of $1.7 million from Dickinson College on Sunday, Jan. 20. The money, according to the church’s newsletter, will be paid to the church over four years with no interest.

The current Allison Church, located at the corner between Morgan and Witwer Hall on Morgan Field, has had a long history with the college and surrounding Carlisle community. According to Dickinson College archives, the piece of property was originally owned by the school. The building and surrounding grounds were given to the Methodist congregation after an electrical fire burned down its previous place of worship in 1954. In the trade, the site of the burned down church, on the corner of South West and West High Streets, was given to the school and turned into the current President’s House.

Because of the unique history surrounding the property, the church offered Dickinson College the chance to purchase the property before other competitors, first in 2009 and then in 2012.

“I’m very pleased,” explained Jay Layman ’71, a Dickinson alum and member of the Allison Church congregation’s committee to oversee the sale of the property. “It is a win-win for both the church and the college. It has been a part of the campus for many years and we were hoping that they would be interested in buying it. The outcome was what I and others were hoping for.”

The sale’s approval came after a vote by the congregation. According to Layman, out of 112 votes, 104 voted in favor of selling the property to Dickinson.

Currently the school plans to look over the property and finish site inspections before moving forward with the deal. Members of the school administration remain positive about the future of the property.

“Purchasing the property was inevitable,” said President William Durden ’77. “We couldn’t have someone else come in and pick it up when we had a legitimate need for a new space.”

The school is currently exploring uses for the new property. According to members of the Student Senate, a committee of students and faculty has been established to look into using the two new halls and fully equipped kitchen that comes with the property.

The church will remain in use until its last service on June 30, 2013. Afterwards the process of moving furniture out and deconsecrating the site will begin.