Thursday, May 13, 2021

'We haven't decided anything': Ripon College ponders future of Merriman House

The Merriman House has been vacant since 2010, when Ripon College relocated the Phi Kappa Pi fraternity to a traditional dorm. The future of the building could be decided in the next month.

Ripon College is reexamining the future of the Merriman House, but it doesn’t have anything set in stone for the property and is still weighing various options.

For many years, the Merriman House, 470 Congress St., had been home to the Phi Kappa Pi fraternity — better known as Merriman. That was until fall of 2010 when the fraternity was relocated to a traditional dorm.

The move was framed as necessary due to deteriorating conditions in Merriman House.

Ripon College President Zach Messitte said the college as of right now “doesn’t have a definitive plan” for the Merriman House and is still in the very early stages of coming up with a plan for the property.

“The building has not been occupied for over a decade, and it's in really poor condition,” he said. “Over the course of the last few years, the college has worked with some alumni and with others to try and figure out what to do with the building.”

While the college has looked at some plans to renovate the building, it recently filed paperwork with the city of Ripon for a permit to raze the Merriman House.

Messitte said Ripon College filed papers because it does the bulk of its work on buildings in the summer and wants to make sure it has its house in order when it finalizes a plan.

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