The ISU Board of Trustees officially approved the demolition of the south campus dorms after over 50 years of use.
The decision was made during the quarterly meeting held by the board of trustees on Feb. 21. The residence halls of Atkin/Colby and Hamilton/Whitten have been out of commission since 2012.
In 2013, a state requirement regarding the installment of new fire sprinklers halted the continued residency of the Southside dorms. The renovations were deemed too costly.
The demolition of these residence halls is set to occur immediately after the spring semester concludes, Aaron Von Qualen, student trustee, said. The construction of the new building to fill the void of the residence halls will begin this upcoming fall semester. No immediate solution has been made to replace the 1,500 beds.
The Board of Trustees approved a budget of up to $6 million in bond reserves for the demolition process. This will include $3.8 million for salvaging work and $2.1 million for asbestos abatement.
The current upkeep for the Southside dorms is a bare minimum $800,000 a year for heating and electricity.
“The nostalgia I feel from my time at Colby is comparable to none,” Lauryn Ott, junior family and consumer science major, said. “It was my first home away from home.”
The new structure placed on the Southside of campus has not officially been approved, Von Qualen said. Although, a strong contender for the position is a Mennonite College of Nursing Facility, according to the ISU’s Master Plan 2010-2030 “Looking to the Future.” The original project submitted to the state of Illinois was estimated at $27 million.
“Anytime that you have the opportunity to upgrade your campus facilities it is going to be a good thing for the university and the institution,” Von Qualen said. “We have a lot to offer here at Illinois State and once we upgrade facilities we will be more attractive to potential students.”
The university also plans to tear down the old Rambo House. The two-story brick home built in 1939 was used for home economics instruction. It has been out of use since 2005. The demolition cost is estimated at $750,000.
In addition, the board at their meeting approved debt financing measures needed to move forward on the LEAP Forward project, a $19.5 million initiative to upgrade information technology systems and improve some academic facilities.
The future date of approval for the specific construction project to be instated on south campus is still pending.