College Heights Foundation purchases Chestnut Street property for new building

The new acquisition for WKU sits just in the shadow of Pearce Forward Tower and Gary Ransdell Hall at 1703 Chestnut Street. It will be named the Cliff Todd center in honor of Todd’s donation.

The College Heights Foundation purchased a property on Chestnut Street Friday afternoon for $950,000 after a search to replace its current building, according to CHF documents obtained by the College Heights Herald.

The house is located at 1703 Chestnut St. and was sold to the foundation by Susan Minton and John Minton Jr., the Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice and son of former WKU president John Minton.

The College Heights Foundation provides funding for scholarship assistance to WKU students and was founded in 1923.


College Heights Foundation President Donald Smith said initial appraisal values of the property were higher than anticipated. According to the CHF documents, the Mintons agreed to provide a $400,000 gift-in-kind credit in order to sell the property for the price of $950,000 after an initial appraisal price of $1.35 million.  

“The Mintons were certainly agreeable in considering this a gift to the university which made it easier for us,” Smith said.

The building will be designated as the Cliff Todd Center in honor of Cliff Todd who also made a $1 million contribution toward purchasing the new home for the CHF. The home is located adjacent to WKU’s campus and was built in 1898.

Smith said further estimated costs between $100,000 to $200,000 will be required to transition the building into office space. Smith said a ramp will be added on the front of the building to make it ADA accessible and “minor renovations” will be required to install the proper IT networks from the university along with changing some of the room colors. 

The current CHF building was built on campus in 1969 and has not been renovated since.

The CHF Board of Directors first considered renovating the current building which would have exceeded $2.1 million. A new facility was designed to replace the existing building with a projected budget of $2.5 million, but the lowest bid received was $3.81 million.

Smith said the three main factors complicating the construction of a new building on campus were the construction site, contractor pricing and increased material costs affected by hurricanes and tariffs.

The current Foundation Building is located between the Chandler Chapel, Potter Hall and Wetherby Administration Building at the top of the Hill on campus.

“Access was difficult and there was not a whole lot of room to work,” Smith said. 

The Mintons will move out of the home within the next 70 days. The CHF has been operating out of the Honors College and International College building since August of 2017, Smith said.

The CHF plans to move into the new property later in Spring 2019.