The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

June 13, 2013

Neighbors briefed on Gage demolition

From their front yard, Lyle and Shirley Olson watched the Gage residence hall towers get built more than 50 years ago, and in 16 days they’ll watch them go down.

They live only a stone’s throw outside of the “exclusion zone” — the area within 1,000 feet of the towers, inside which the public will not be allowed.

But, after a Wednesday evening community meeting for nearby residents, they’re not worried. About two dozen people attended the event, at Minnesota State University.

Lyle was a bit concerned that a strong wind blowing to the southwest could coat his house with dust. A demolition expert, Thomas Doud, said the dispersal of the dust will depend on the weather. But he suggested that dust wouldn’t be a big problem for a resident who said he lived five blocks away from the site.

And Shirley asked whether nearby trees would be spared. She was told the trees around the future parking lot would be saved.

Doud, a project manager with Controlled Demolition Inc., said the towers will likely be brought down at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 29.

Even a strong wind or rain wouldn’t delay the demolition; the only weather that could cause a delay is low cloud cover. That’s because low clouds can re-direct and amplify the blast wave, potentially shattering nearby windows. But in Doud’s 23 years in the business a demolition has only been delayed once for the weather, and only then for a few hours.

The university decided to get rid of the towers because it would cost more to rehabilitate them. A consultant decided that demolition by explosives would be cheaper than the wrecking ball.

The demolition will cost about $1.25 million, on top of $1.2 million to remove contaminants like asbestos. MSU had estimated the demolition would cost $2.8 million.

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