McCollum Hall being gutted in preparation for big boom

KU announces road closures, public viewing area for Nov. 25 implosion

Pre-demolition work is ongoing at McCollum Hall on the KU campus, pictured Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. Asbestos has been removed from the building, and metal and soft

By the time McCollum Hall implodes — an event now set for 9 a.m. Nov. 25 — there will be a lot less to the building than there was when it was home to more than 900 students.

A drive by the largest residence hall on Daisy Hill reveals gaping windows, holes in the walls and piles of construction debris around the building.

A lot of pre-demolition work has taken place at McCollum since its last student residents moved out in the spring, and work will continue in the coming weeks to whittle it down even more.

Early on, KU found new homes for portraits of the building’s namesakes, Elmer and Burton McCollum, and removed furniture for donation.

Asbestos abatement has now been completed in the building, KU spokeswoman Erinn Barcomb-Peterson said Monday.

Metals — both heavy-duty structural metals and lighter-weight materials such as copper and aluminum — are currently being removed and recycled, she said.

Crews also are getting rid of “soft materials” such as wood, drywall and ceiling tiles, Barcomb-Peterson said. “Those are being hauled off for disposal.”

Dust and rubble tumbles out of a window in McCollum Hall on the KU campus Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. Asbestos has been removed from the building, and metal and soft

KU says it’s trying to minimize the amount of waste being taken to the landfill as much as possible. Concrete and masonry also will be crushed and used for gravel fill for parking lots, roads and other projects.

Also this week, crews are drilling holes in which to place explosives into columns on the first, second, fifth and sixth floors, Barcomb-Peterson said.

When the day comes that those explosives will be detonated, a 600-foot “evacuation perimeter” will be enforced between 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., according to KU. That will include barricading roads around 19th and Iowa streets.

KU has designated a public viewing area: the Oliver Hall parking lot at 19th Street and Naismith Drive, though no activities are planned and the hall will not be open to the public.

“Visitors should be aware that the implosion will demolish the building in a matter of seconds; however, the atmosphere will be very dusty for 10 to 15 minutes following the implosion,” KU cautioned in a press release about the upcoming implosion. “Those with respiratory ailments should take precautions.”

McCollum, located at 1800 Engel Road, opened in the spring semester of 1965, according to KU. Its original capacity was 910 students, both men and women.

McCollum has three wings, 10 residential floors and a basement.

Two new residence halls, Oswald and Self, were constructed to replace McCollum. They opened to students in August.

Once McCollum is leveled, the area will be turned into a surface parking lot, according to KU.

The university’s master plan calls for additional future development in the area, including mixed-use buildings with both on-campus housing and retail space.

Road closures

Kansas University has announced the following road closures between 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Nov. 25, when McCollum Hall is scheduled for implosion.

15th and Iowa

• Iowa Street will be closed from 21st to 15th streets

• Although the northbound lane of Iowa from 23rd to 21st streets will be open, traffic must exit onto Constant Avenue at 21st Street.

• The intersection at 15th Street and Engel Road will be closed.

West Campus

KU’s West Campus employees should enter the parking lots from Bob Billings Parkway and Crestline Road or by driving through the Park and Ride lots at 23rd at Iowa streets.

• There will be barricades at 19th Street and Constant Avenue and Irving Hill Road and Constant Avenue.

• Irving Hill Bridge will be closed, and Irving Hill Road will be blocked from south of Jayhawker Towers to the bridge.

19th Street

• 19th Street westbound will be closed from Naismith Drive to Constant Avenue.

• Barricades will be at Bagley Drive, Stewart Avenue, Ellis Drive, Anna Drive and Ousdahl Road, which will effectively close those streets. Ousdahl residents will be able to exit their homes headed east on 19th St.