WKU fills basement on Kiss Me Quick Avenue months after demolition


Alexandria Anderson

The basement of a WKU property on Chestnut Street next to Kiss Me Quick Avenue, previously unfilled, filled in with gravel.

Alexandria Anderson, Editor-in-Chief

WKU filled in the basement of a property owned by the university on Chestnut Street at Kiss Me Quick Avenue today, months after demolition of the building.

The basement, left behind after the university demolished the property’s building in July 2022, posed a safety threat, as it was a deep hole scattered with bricks and other construction materials.

After the Herald sent an email on June 13 questioning the safety of the property, Bryan Russell, WKU chief facilities officer, stated via email: “I will get someone to fill in the holes and make the area safer.”

According to the Warren County Property Valuation Administrator records, the properties are located at 1537 and 1541 Chestnut Street, on either side of Kiss Me Quick Avenue. They were bought by WKU on Sept. 29, 2020 for $194,050 (1537) and $250,000 (1541) from KB Family Limited Partnership, which included former Provost Barbara Burch, who died in 2020.

The property at 1537 is where the basement was filled in, as the other property does not have one. Russell said WKU knew that the buildings would be torn down after they were acquired.

“We took them down because the buildings were not in good condition for the university,” Russel said. “Once we acquired [them], they were not in condition for us to rent them out. We didn’t want to lease those to anybody. We thought it’d be best to take them down.”

He stated the university did not anticipate the length of time it would take to fill the basement and that facilities had been “talking about” filling the holes before the Herald notified them, as they had already started to “clean it up a little bit.”

“We shouldn’t have left them in the condition we left them,” Russell said. “We just said, Hey, guys […] [and] we got started to clean it up a little bit. But I was like, we need to make it safe. So that’s what we’re doing.”

Russell said no previous safety concerns were raised about the basements other than his own concerns after visiting the properties. For further use, there is an engineering firm evaluating the property, but as of now, the goal is only to make them safe.

“As part of our master plan, [we] acquire property as it comes available,” Russell said. “That’s why they purchased the property to start with.”

Editor-in-chief Alexandria Anderson can be reached at [email protected].