By Nicole Bird
In the middle of the concrete buildings that make up Utah Valley State College’s campus sits a small piece of pioneer history.
The Bunnell home is a 115- year-old farmhouse that has become a hot topic of conversation at UVSC. It is currently being used as a storage facility for maintenance and office equipment, but some think that among the dollies and desks, lies the potential for something more.
Alex Caldiero is among those who think the home is going to waste. He is the artist in residence at UVSC and teaches several classes in humanities, and ethics and values. A native Italian, Caldiero has lived in Utah since 1980 and said there is a major problem with conserving pioneer history in the area. As much as he wants to see the Bunnell house continually preserved, he also wants to see it used — as a caf?.
“The beauty of this idea is that it’s so obvious,” Caldiero said.
He said his motivation is to foster what he calls a “campus culture.” He said caf?s have always served their purpose as a place to exchange thoughts and ideas.
Caldiero said it is important for a campus to have locations for casual conversation and culture available to students, faculty and the public alike.
“It’s not about the classroom only,” he said. “I picture this place as a place of poetry, of music, of conversation.”
He said since he thought of the concept five years ago, it has been growing in popularity.
Caldiero said the student body is generally supportive of the idea and that many faculty members are joining in the sentiment. The farmhouse was once a restaurant run by the culinary arts students, and Caldiero wants the caf? to be student-run and operated as it was originally.
There is just one thing missing — $500,000. That is how much it would cost to renovate the building and turn it into a caf?.
Jim Michaelis, associate vice president of facilities, said nearly every part of the house needs updating. He also said it would take about $4,000 to maintain the facility each year.
“It might be nice, but it’s an awful lot of money,” Michaelis said.
President William Sederburg and other administrators have stayed sympathetic to the idea, but school officials have bigger priorities with university status only eight months away.
Caldiero said he is optimistic about finding the money. He said he hopes to find donors interested in the project and plans to hold fundraising activities in hopes of raising the funds.
Caldiero said he anticipates this project being done in the next two years.
“There is an old Sicilian proverb that says ‘The apple is ripe, then it falls’ and this is ripe,” he said.