Shelton College demolished after roof collapse

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All that remains of the former Shelton College is a pile of rubble. All that remains of the former Shelton College is a pile of rubble.
CAPE MAY – The former Shelton College on Maryland Avenue is under demolition after a large section of the roof collapsed.

Gus Andy of the La Mer Motor Lodge owns the property, and he said the collapse came at a bad time.

“It’s the beginning of the season and we are trying to get things done,” he said.

Andy said the collapse pushed to the forefront something he had been trying to do for 10 years.

“Nature forced our hand a long time ago. It was about ready to go,” he said.

Andy said people advised him to wait until the Sewell Tract issue was resolved. The Sewell Tract includes about 96 acres of land in the east end of Cape May, which had been proposed for development. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has been working on an agreement with the property owners, East Cape May Associates, which included the preservation of about 90 percent of the tract.

The deal was essentially rejected by the property owners earlier this year.

Andy said his business has been looking at developing the 15 lots the former college covered, but has taken no formal action.

“We have plans for development, plans for a subdivision comparable to the surrounding area,” he said.

He said the development would be similar in architectural style and landscaping to surrounding properties. He said they have been talking to the city planning board in work sessions regarding compatibility of design.

Meanwhile, the task at hand is the demolition and removal of Shelton College. Andy said they would be removing the building including the foundation, grading and seeding the property pending any development. The cost of the demolition is expected to be around $100,000.

Shelton College was developed in 1964 as a Christian liberal arts college by the Rev. Carl MacIntire, once owner of Congress Hall. The college had problems with accreditation, and was moved to Florida and back, before ceasing operations in 1992.

Part of the roof collapsed at the end of April, requiring the owners, doing business as Pella LLC, to demolish and clear the property.

Construction official Bill Callahan said when the construction office is notified of a catastrophic incident, such as the roof collapse, he will go out and perform an inspection of the site and make a determination. He said not every incident requires a building to be demolished.

“If it’s just a couple of rooms in a fire you might not have to close the building. But if the building could become an immanent hazard it might have to be demolished,” he said.

Callahan said the owner of the structure would be notified of his decision, and they would recommend what needs to be done for reconstruction or demolition. If the building is considered an immanent hazard the city might opt to hire its own contractor, demolish the building, and place a lien on the property until the city is reimbursed. Otherwise, the property owner is given a time frame to inform the city as to how the reconstruction or demolition would be handled.

The property owner has to secure permits for all the work to be done. Callahan said the permits are good for one year, but they like to see the property owner making progress on the project.


 

Related: Former Shelton College building to be demolished after roof collapse


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