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October 2009

Release Date: Oct. 19, 2009ASU Logo

Sunday Sunrise Demolition to Draw Crowds, Alter ASU Skyline

Thousands of spectators are expected to converge on the campus of Angelo State University by sunrise Sunday, Oct. 25, to witness the planned implosion of University Hall, one of two high rise dormitories which have been campus and city landmarks since 1968. 

ASU Police are advising citizens to plan ahead for the spectacle and arrive early if they hope to find parking and a spot to witness the demise of what for many years was known as the Women’s High Rise.

Streets surrounding University Hall will begin to close at 3:30 a.m. Sunday and by 5:30 a.m. all streets surrounding the site, including Jackson Street on the east will be closed to all but permitted traffic.  By 7:45 a.m. all traffic will be suspended between Jackson and Johnson Streets and between Avenue N and University Avenue until after the building falls.

ASU Police Chief James Adams said all campus lots on the west side of Johnson Street will be open to the public Sunday morning.  Additionally, the Colts Stadium parking lot has been made available for public and overflow student parking.  Public parking will also be available in the lot adjacent to the ASU softball and soccer fields at Johnson and Victory.  Details on the implosion are available from the ASU home page and at www.angelo.edu/news/implosion_advisory.html.

The one-time dormitory is scheduled for destruction between sunrise at 7:52 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. on Sunday.  The ceremonial button-pushing to bring the building down will occur on a reviewing stand on the Junell Center terrace adjacent to the Ticket Office. 

For $10,500, ASU alumnus Alvin New, Class of 1984, purchased the right during an auction at the ASU Athletic Foundation Blue and Gold Banquet in August to push the button that will bring the building down.  He will be joined by his wife, Patricia, Class of 1986 and 1993, and their daughters, Victoria and Elizabeth.  Eight current ASU students, who have shown outstanding support for ASU athletics over the past month, have been invited by the News to join in the effort to topple the building. 

The terrace on the west side of the Junell Center is reserved for the platform party and special guests of ASU, including major donors and Angelo State administrators.  A private reception is being sponsored by the ASU Office of Development in the Junell Center VIP Lounge.

The public is welcome to bring lawn chairs to set up seats on the lawns north of the Junell Center and elsewhere on campus as long as they stay outside safety barriers.  No spectators will be allowed to bring tents or sleeping bags with the intent of spending the night on the grounds.  Restroom facilities on the east side of the Junell Center will be available to the general public. 

While we want to be good hosts,” said Adams, “the public should recognize that this is still a construction site with a variety of workers and university staff completing numerous tasks to bring about a successful and safe demolition of University Hall.”

Adams said spectators should obey all instructions from police and other safety officials.  The immediate vicinity of the abandoned building, called the blast zone, will be cordoned off and once the all clear signal is given, no one will be allowed back inside the fence.  An outer perimeter will also be established and spectators will be prohibited from advancing inside that perimeter.  Only personnel with ASU-issued credentials will be able to operate between the blast zone and the spectator perimeters.

We are asking the public’s full cooperation in helping us make this work for everyone’s safety and enjoyment,” Adams said. 

Spectators should also recognize that the implosion will kick up a huge dust cloud and those who are located downwind from the building will likely be enveloped by a dust fog for several minutes.  Adams encouraged all spectators to bring dust masks for their own comfort. 

The only condition that would delay the planned implosion is lightning.  While rain might actually help by reducing the dust, lightning presents safety problems for managing the explosives which will be used to blow weight-bearing columns in the building so that it collapses on itself.  If lighting is reported anywhere within five miles of the building, the demolition will be delayed until the thunderstorms have moved from the vicinity.

Streets in the immediate vicinity of the implosion will be closed first, beginning at 3:30 a.m.  Those streets are:

            ●Varsity Lane from Dena Drive to University Avenue
            ●Victory Lane from Johnson Street to Varsity Lane
            ●Dena from Johnson Street to Varsity Street

Peripheral streets will be closed beginning at 5:30 a.m.  Those streets are:

            ●Van Buren from Vanderventer Avenue to Dena Drive
            ●Jackson Street from Vanderventer Avenue to University Avenue
            ●Vanderventer Avenue from Johnson Street to Jackson Street, including access points at
               Harrison, Fillmore, Pierce and Lincoln streets

After the streets are closed, access will be by permit only for emergency personnel, contractors, working ASU staff members and VIP donors. 

Streets will remained closed after the implosion until the resulting dust cloud has dissipated and the adjacent streets have been swept of any debris that may have been thrown upon them.  The inspection and cleaning of Dena and Varsity is expected to take between 30 and 45 minutes.  Other streets and parking areas will be cleaned throughout the day.

University Hall 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.  The residence hall housed 490 students each semester during its life span.  Three separate consultant studies showed that both renovation and/or conversion to another use were also cost prohibitive.