LINCOLN, Neb. – Two high-rise dormitories of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln crashed to the ground Friday in a planned implosion that sent large plumes of smoke billowing through the center of the campus.
The university demolished Cather and Pound halls at the same time, in about 10 seconds. Crews spent a number of weeks, the placing of dynamite in the support of the columns on select floors, and wiring costs to ensure the explosion went as planned. Approximately 500 pounds (225 kilos of dynamite was used.
The preparations started in May, when it’s a Controlled Demolition, Inc., the university is the contractor started with the removal of windows, heavy furniture, and mechanical parts of the 13-story dormitories.
Engineers estimate that each building weighed in at 200 million tons (180 million tonnes). The dormitories were housed thousands of students since 1963, but were out of date. In 2010 a study found a batch of the safety, the code and the facade of shortcomings with both buildings and concluded that the renovation would cost too much.
The collapse of the buildings proved more feasible than destroying them with a wrecking ball or other methods, said Larry Shippen, the university’s associate director of housing. University officials also wanted to demolish the building quickly during the holidays, when some of the students on the campus.
“Today, the demolition is the result of many months of planning and preparation,” said Sue Gildersleeve, the university and the director of housing. “Safety always has the highest priority, and on a busy college campus like this, it is an understandable challenge.”
Barriers in place on the inside and the outside of the building to keep material from flying and damage to the surrounding structures.
Nine square blocks around the dormitories were evacuated Friday morning. About 300 spectators, the implosion of the top of a nearby parking garage. A few minutes later, after the smoke cleared, all that remained were two piles of concrete about 30 feet (9 metres) high.
Grant Watson, the university of the construction manager, said crews will begin cleaning up the rubble next week, and the last remnants are planned to be disposed of to a landfill site early next year. The demolition was expected to cost an estimated $7.3 million.
Watson said university officials were walking around on the site shortly after the implosion and saw no damage to other buildings, except for a cracked window.
Gildersleeve said university officials have not yet decided what to do with the site. Once the dirt is clear, it will serve as green space (in any case temporary.
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