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Morrill Hall demolition begins

June 4, 2013
	<p>Morrill Hall demolition continues June 4, 2013. Demolition started June 3, 2013. Weston Brooks/The State News</p>

Morrill Hall demolition continues June 4, 2013. Demolition started June 3, 2013. Weston Brooks/The State News

Photo by Weston Brooks | The State News

After more than 100 years of history, Morrill Hall has reached the beginning of the end.

Workers began dismantling the building Monday after completing phase one of its demolition last month by removing asbestos and other hazardous materials. The leveling process has left a large hole at the top of the building.

A fire ignited in the top floor of Morrill Hall last month, with no reported injuries. The case underwent investigation, only to be closed a few days later with the cause of the fire listed as unknown. However, the incident did not derail demolition, MSU police Sgt. Florene McGlothian-Taylor said in a previous interview.

The decision to tear down the building came from the MSU Board of Trustees in 2010, when after further inspection, the wooden framing was found to be unsafe. With much of the framing rotten through, there no longer is an inner structure to replace, which would have made for costly repairs.

History professor David Bailey, whose office remained in the building for more than 30 years, said the deterioration might have happened due to lack of funding when Morrill Hall, formerly known as the Women’s Building, was built in 1899.

“In a way, MSU never, until recently, had the funds to build buildings properly,” Bailey said. “It looked like it was sturdier than it turned out to be. It turned out to be an icon of its era, when MSU at that point was barely scraping money together to put buildings up.”

All offices, including Bailey’s, were removed from the building by December 2012. Despite its decline, he said Morrill Hall provided its own set of comfort.

“It’s sort of nasty and grim, but it’s very familiar and in its own way … it’s kind of wonderful,” he said.

MSU’s Office of Facilities Planning and Space Management, along with Infrastructure Planning and Facilities, could not be reached for comment.

Morrill Hall will be completely demolished by July, when reconstruction efforts will begin. The cleared area will be made into a park with green space, which will incorporate pieces of the building itself.

The $1 million project is slated to be complete by September.

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