News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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September 20, 2012

ISU towers to come down next year

President Bradley says school looking at ways to dismantle complex on east side of campus

TERRE HAUTE — No longer needed, the 15-story twin Statesman Towers at Indiana State University are slated for demolition next year, ISU President Dan Bradley told faculty, staff and students during his annual fall address Wednesday.

The news drew applause from the audience.

The towers are between Eighth and Ninth streets on the northeast part of the campus.

Built in 1968, the towers were built as residence halls to handle increasing enrollments. Later, they were converted for academic use to house the Colleges of Business and Education.

The Bayh College of Education vacated the west tower in 2009 to move into the renovated University Hall. The Scott College of Business moved into the renovated Federal Hall at the corner of Seventh and Cherry Streets in August.

Now, plans are under way to demolish the towers next summer or fall, Bradley said. “We may have a contest to see who gets to push the button,” he joked.

He recalled when he first came to campus and saw the “really, really ugly buildings.”

The demolition will assist the university in saving money and becoming more efficient with space utilization, something measured by the state, he said. Currently, ISU doesn’t fare well in that measure, he said.

ISU has long talked about the need to demolish the towers, which were neither energy-efficient nor space-efficient. Even 10 years ago, officials stated that only 50 percent of the space could be used for academic purposes because of the design. The towers were expensive to maintain and operate.

After his talk, in which he briefly mentioned the towers, Bradley said ISU has a contract with the architectural/engineering firm Schmidt Associates, which also was involved with the Federal Hall and University Hall projects.

Demolition of Statesman Towers “is a complicated enough effort that you have to hire an architectural/engineering firm to design the demolition,” Bradley sad.

It’s estimated demolition could cost around $2 million. Because the towers were built as residence halls, the state has suggested that residence hall funding should pay for demolition, Bradley said. That would mean university operating funds would not be used.

Asked if the building would be imploded, he said he didn’t know. Two factors will be considered in demolition.

The Debs House is nearby “and they are very anxious about how we do it,” Bradley said.

Also, the towers are precast concrete buildings, and there are times when precast concrete panels have economic value, he said. A demolition contractor could potentially take it down panel by panel and sell them; the demolition contractor would keep proceeds from the sale of those panels, if that happened.

Also in his fall address, Bradley told the audience:

n ISU employees will receive a 2 percent salary increase effective Nov. 1. Continued enrollment growth is allowing the university to provide the increase.

n He outlined the university’s successes in enrollment growth, fundraising and national recognition for its commitment to community service.

n Despite much progress, Bradley cautioned that ISU continues to face financial challenges. The Indiana Commission for Higher Education has recommended a 5 percent reduction in state appropriations for 2013-15.

While ISU has become more efficient, inflation has increased by 2.7 percent and the university will need to reallocate $2 million to $2.5 million for next year, he said.

Certain areas of the budget must be cut to pay for other areas that are growing, such as utilities and health insurance, he said. The amount to be re-allocated is about double what the university had hoped.

Pay increases also are a priority, he said after his talk. “We need to be competitive in our salary structure or we won’t be able to hire the kind of people we want,” he said.

n Still, the university must continue to plan for the future, Bradley said, noting that renovation of Erickson Hall is underway to return that building to its original use for student housing; it will be ready next fall.

Construction is expected to start this fall on a new residence hall on the north side of campus. Also, the university hopes that construction of new student housing in downtown Terre Haute will start prior to the beginning of the next fiscal year.

Also this year, work is expected to start on a new track and field facility and riverfront development as well as an extension of the National Road Trail to the U.S. 150 (formerly U.S. 40) Wabash River bridges.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.

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