News From Terre Haute, Indiana

February 15, 2013

Days are numbered: ISU asking for towers demolition money

Sue Loughlin
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Demolition of Indiana State University’s Statesman Towers is expected to begin late this year or early next year, according to university officials.

The entire project cost, including relocation of utilities, salvage work, abatement work and actual demolition, will cost about $4 million, said Bryan Duncan, ISU’s director of capital planning and improvements.

The $4 million pricetag will be funded through residence hall reserves and university facility reserves, said Diann McKee, ISU vice president for business affairs.

The two, 15-story structures, formerly used as residence halls and later as academic buildings, together have 320,000 square feet of space. They are located between Eighth and Ninth streets on the northeast part of campus, between Sycamore and Spruce streets.

Next week, the ISU Board of Trustees will be asked to approve a firm for architectural and engineering services and preparation of construction documents for the bidding process.

ISU also must secure necessary state approvals for the project because of its cost.

Once the project is bid and state approvals are in hand, McKee needs board approval to enable her to sign a contract with a demolition contractor.

She doesn’t anticipate the project will be bid until late fall.

The massive project is going through a design process similar to what would occur for a new building, Duncan said.

ISU has already begun working with Schmidt and Associates to determine the best, safest and most cost-effective way to demolish the towers, whether through implosion or crane and wrecking ball, according to Duncan and McKee.

There will be a separate asbestos abatement project that takes place prior to demolition. This is primarily for removal of floor tiles. Some asbestos work, such as the removal of pipe insulation, has already taken place, said Tara Singer, university spokeswoman.

Materials from the building will be recycled before the demolition takes place, including metal, doors and electrical items. Other items include furniture and about 100 air-conditioning units.

“A lot of salvage work is involved,” Duncan said. Also, utilities that run through the basements of the buildings have to be relocated.

“It’s kind of a complicated project,” he said.

Another complicating factors relates to the Debs Museum at 451 N. Eighth St., which is very close to the towers. “We’ve made contact with them,” Duncan said.

There will be a plan to protect the museum to prevent damages during demolition. That plan will likely involve some sort of barrier and netting or cover to protect the entire museum site from flying debris, Duncan said.

Once demolition begins, he anticipates it could take four to six months.

Statesman Towers were originally constructed in 1968 to be residence halls for the university.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the buildings transitioned to serve as the homes for the ISU 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 in 2012.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or