President Matt Presti said the vast trove of art owned by the university will be moved into the three-floor, 32,500-square-foot building in time for the opening around the first of May 2019.
"This is a chance to interact with the public and to display the 40-plus tons of artwork," said Presti. Since the university's lease at Swannanoa Palace in Afton ended 20 years ago, the art has been in storage and the university has functioned through its online curriculum.
Presti said the university has held periodic homecoming events, including one a year ago at the Wayne Theatre. But he said the new location will allow for many functions. The third floor can be home to corporate meetings, and displays of local and traveling art.
Additionally, the university will offer guided tours, classes on fine art, presentations and monthly speaking.
Walter Russell and his wife Lao, founded the University of Science and Philosophy in 1948. The curriculum teaches the science of man, mind and character development as intended by its predecessor, the Twilight Club. The Twilight Club was founded by British philosopher Herbert Spencer of the latter 19th century.
Presti said the goal is to "inspire people to become creative."
The new university facility was home to G&W Motorwerkes for years until recently. The Porsche dealership has moved to Staunton. The building was sold at a price of $881,500 to the University of Science and Philosophy in July, according to records on file at the Waynesboro Assessor's office.
Greg Hitchin, Waynesboro's director of economic development and tourism, said the building is located in an enterprise zone and is eligible for certain grants if improvements are made. Hitchin said grant funding would kick in if capital improvements of more than $100,000 are performed, and he said the facility is eiligibe for a $5,000 city facade grant.
"We have had preliminary conversations with the new owners about incentives," Hitchin said.
Presti said the building is perfectly set up for the university. He said there is not much construction to deal with, just the providing of handicapped accessibility.