The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

June 27, 2013

Gage Towers -- c'mon down!

Thousands expected to watch Mankato's tallest buildings dynamited into rubble

MANKATO — In the words of hillbilly explosion fetishists Big Jim McBob and Billy Sol Hurok on the old SCTV comedy show:

It's going to be blow'd up good. Blow'd up re-e-a-a-l good.

The 12-story twin towers of Minnesota State University's Gage dormitories will be imploded at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, an event expected to draw thousands of onlookers eager to watch Mankato's tallest buildings disappear in seconds.

Gage's demise is dictated by its age (built in the mid-1960s) and its outmoded no-frills, high-rise design for student housing.

But although school officials may be saying good riddance to a dated concept, many of the 50,000 students who have lived there see its end as bittersweet.

MSU Interim Director of Alumni Relations Jen Myers has been hearing that sentiment time and again.

"One alum asked if she and her husband, who she met there, could spend one last night in Gage."

Too late, Myers told her.

"I said, 'There's no windows or doors left. You'll be sleeping with the bats.' "

MSU is preparing for the event as if it were the world's shortest on-campus carnival.

All manner of Gage memorabilia will be on sale in the Maverick Midway, the area between Blakeslee Stadium and the football practice fields that will serve as the main public viewing area.

Myers said more than 200 Gage student mailboxes have been sold to alumni as souvenirs, and hundreds more will be available Saturday.

The school has also laid in 500 tongue-in-cheek Gage commemorative T-shirts.

The backs will bear the top 12 alumni-submitted "Gage quotes" — those deemed printable for public consumption, that is.

"There were some quite inappropriate ones." Myers said.

The most popular Gage-ism submitted: "Hold the 'vator," a reference to the towers' tortoise-slow elevators. Miss one and you might as well have napped until it came back.

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