By Amanda Dyslin
Free Press Staff Writer
MANKATO — After serving as a landmark for about 50 years on the campus of Minnesota State University, the end is near for Gage Complex.
The residence hall’s implosion is set for the morning hours of either Saturday, June 29, or Sunday, June 30, with weather conditions determining the safest time for the event. (If weather conditions prevent a June 29 or 30 implosion, the event will occur at a similar time on the following weekend.)
Jen Myers, interim director of alumni relations, said she expects a couple of thousand people to gather the morning of the event at a viewing area tentatively set for behind Blakeslee for a short program.
“And then it’ll be the big countdown, and there’ll be some music, and we’ll all clap,” she said.
MSU’s Office of Alumni Relations is planning a number of events in association with the Gage demolition, including various “demolition parties” Friday, June 28, at area businesses.
On the date of implosion, a 1,000-foot radius “safe zone” is required around the site for 12 hours prior to and eight hours after the implosion. All buildings and grounds within that 1,000-foot radius will be “off limits” during those hours.
Those areas include: Centennial Student Union, Wigley Administration Building, Morris Hall, Otto Rec Center, Highland Center, Pennington Hall, the three practice football fields and numerous other athletic and campus recreation venues.
In addition, Stadium Road will be closed at Warren Street and James Avenue, as well as the West Road/Maywood route through campus.
Following the implosion, MSU will host a breakfast for attendees off campus at an undetermined location.
About 50,000 students have called the Gage residence halls home in its 47-year history, said President Richard Davenport in a statement. The first group of students moved into the $2.57 million building in 1965.
“Thousands of our alums have wonderful memories of living in the towers,” he wrote. “We are hoping for a great turnout in June to celebrate those memories.”
For one academic year of room and board in Gage in 1965, the cost was $630. Its final year in 2011-12, the cost was $6,555.
As other event details become available, they will be posted at www.mnsu.edu/gage.