Demolition Makes Way for New Academic Complex

January 19, 2017

The stacks where books were once stored on the rear side of Grinnell College's Carnegie Hall stood for at least 113 years before demolition work began on Saturday, Jan. 14, to make way for construction of the College's new Humanities and Social Studies Complex (HSSC).

The HSSC will include new construction and the preservation and renovation of Alumni Recitation Hall (ARH) and the adjacent Carnegie Hall, which was dedicated on June 30, 1905. These two revitalized historic structures will be complemented by construction of two pavilions, with a dramatic atrium uniting the whole.

The entire complex, which is scheduled for completion in 2020, will bring together the humanities and social studies in a highly flexible, technology-rich environment. Its design, by EYP Architects, will encourage formal and informal "intellectual collisions" between and among disciplines to promote new levels of scholarship, inquiry, and creativity.

Demolition of the three-story stacks, including the basement, began Saturday morning as a crew from Bolander & Sons Co. used a tall hydraulic excavator with an attachment shaped like the head of a T-Rex to start tearing away at the roof line on the north side of the stacks. The crew pulled down about two stories before working their way back across the roof line.

By the time they got to the northeast corner of the roof, they also had a small excavator starting to sort through the debris coming off the building into materials that can be recycled and those that cannot.

Demolition of the stacks continued through Monday. Crews from McGough Construction and its subcontractors continue to remove debris from the demolition.

The next step will be to prepare the site for digging by removing tree stumps, light pole bases, sidewalks, and other obstacles on the ground. This work will pave the way for shoring up the foundations of both Carnegie and ARH to hold soil in place against existing building foundations while crews excavate for new foundations.

 Other work scheduled before spring classes begin:

  • Cover east-facing windows at Carnegie and ARH for site work
  • Repair wall in Carnegie room 111 after pipe removal
  • Prevent storm water runoff near the north gate
  • Perform below-grade partial demolition

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