Down Day Set for Oct. 25
The implosion of University Hall has been rescheduled for Sunday, Oct. 25. The demolition of the 10-story former dormitory will occur shortly after sunrise at 7:52 a.m. that Sunday.
Security fencing will be installed, starting Monday, Oct. 19, providing a safe perimeter around the vacant building. Additional details on the planned demolition and campus safety precautions will be made available in forthcoming weeks .
University Hall, long known on campus as the Women’s High Rise, opened in 1968 at a cost of $4 million or $39.01 per square foot for the 103,883-square-foot building. The facility was vacated after the summer of 2004 because of the increasing maintenance costs. Three separate consultant studies showed that both renovation and/or conversion to another use were also cost prohibitive. The residence hall housed 490 students each semester during its life span.
A contract for the demolition was awarded to ARC Abatement Inc. of Garland earlier this year.
Implosion Postponed Until October
The implosion of University Hall is being pushed back until mid to late October. The delay is the result of unforeseen issues in removing the asbestos in certain sections of the building.
The former residence hall was originally scheduled for demolition Sept. 20. Once a new date is set, it will be announced publicly.
New to Implode the Old
Local businessman Alvin New loves Angelo State University so much that he decided to destroy one of the campus dormitories.
In a display of support for his alma mater, New posted the winning bid of $10,500 for the right to push the button that will implode the University Hall high rise dorm in September. The 1984 ASU graduate said it is his way of blasting the university toward one of its major goals.
“The main thing that is on my mind for ASU is how to help them get to 10,000 students,” New said. “If the high rise were part of that, then we would be refurbishing it. I think we are going to be much better served with a modern facility that is exactly what the students want.”
The right to detonate the dorm was the premier auction item at this summer’s annual ASU Athletic Foundation Blue and Gold Banquet, with the proceeds to go toward athletic scholarships. A foundation board member actually predicted that New would be the winning bidder and guessed the bid amount almost to the dollar.
“I laughed and said, ‘I’m interested, but I hope it doesn’t go that high,’” New said. “That was really all we said. Then, the item came up for bid and it kept going higher and kept going higher. I didn’t know what amount was going to be too high, but getting to $10,500 was okay with me. What would have been too high, I don’t know.”
Since winning the right to set off ASU’s big bang, New has fielded plenty of offers to help, most notably one of his young daughters who was out of town the weekend of the auction and didn’t find out about the prize until hearing it on the radio the following Monday.
“I was leaving for the office,” New said, “and she came running out of the house yelling at me, ‘I want to push the button! I want to push the button!’ When I finally realized what she was talking about, we had a good laugh. That is what I anticipated, that my kids would think it’s a fun thing to do…and it will be fun.”
“I tell everyone it will probably be a decoy button,” he added. “There will be a guy sitting somewhere with binoculars looking at me and saying, ‘okay, he thinks he just did it.’ Then they will do the real thing to make sure we don’t push the button too soon or do something to mess it up.”
As he prepares to for his explosive few seconds of fame, New swears he has nothing against the old high rise. He just appreciates the opportunity to do something memorable for his family and Angelo State.
“We will get to do something that is fun for us and it’s a once in a lifetime kind of opportunity,” New said. “At the same time, it supports the university and is consistent with our desire to support ASU.”