“The board views this as a long-term asset and an important step for the university,” Steve Cobb, chair of UD’s board of trustees, said in a statement. “The house will include a private space for university presidents and their families to live and a space for events ranging from special dinners with faculty and students to small gatherings with donors and community leaders.”
The house was previously owned by Marilee Faust Oberheu — the sister of former Notre Dame coach Gerry Faust — until her death in 2013. She often used the home to host fundraisers for local nonprofits, including the first fundraiser for the collection of Creches at UD’s Marian Library.
In September, UD announced that Spina will be its next president.
The board’s move reflects a growing national trend, according to the university. “More and more Catholic universities with lay leaders are providing houses for their presidents and families rather than a housing allowance,” UD said.
Spina said in the statement that he wants to use the house to “celebrate students, faculty, staff and alumni.”
“My wife Karen and I will want student and faculty art throughout the home,” he said. “We will want to incorporate all the talents of our university community into the space and its functions to make it a warm and supportive environment — a house that reflects the university’s welcoming, hospitable character and showcases both our Flyer spirit and the tremendous talent we have among our students.”
UD said it paid for the house out of its capital budget. Each year, the university spends an average of $40 million for improvements to buildings or new construction, it said. The capital budget also has funded the purchase of private homes in surrounding student neighborhoods in south Dayton.
UD will take possession of the property in March.
Current UD President Dan Curran will not move into the new house, a UD spokeswoman said. Curran purchased a Dayton condominium in January 2012 for $215,000, according to county property records. A university spokeswoman declined to answer questions about Curran’s residence.
The spokeswoman did not know if Spina has seen the Oakwood house, or if he saw it before the university purchased it. In addition, she could not say when Spina will move in.
According to New York property records, Spina sold a house for $299,000 in 2014, and another for $310,000 in 2007.
Staff Writer Lance Lambert contributed to this story.