Demolition begins on nine SIU buildings

Southern Illinois University is spending a little more than $300,000 to eliminate some eyesores from campus.

Demolition began Friday morning on nine buildings, seven of which were built in the 1930s and 1940s.

“Our focus is really to get the environmental issues cleaned up but also try to find whatever we have in the buildings we can reuse," SIU Director of Plant Service Operations Phil Gatton said.

A few weeks ago the buildings targeted for demolition housed graduate students but, like many homes of the era, the walls held a deadly secret.

"They have asbestos in them,” Gatton said. “There are mold issues, they have leaky basements, and they're reaching a period of time where they need some pretty major improvements. Really, they don't have a lot of value to the university."

When students return in the fall the homes will just be a memory, but the university sees long-term value in the property.

"In the short term it's going to be green space, so it will be a buffer,” Gatton said. “Long term, as part of our master plan, it may be part of a private-public partnership with some housing developments here. It creates a transition between the city of Carbondale and the university."

Despite the $317,000 price tag on demolition, Gatton says the university will save money as it works to become more efficient.

Crews plan to begin demolition on the outside of the buildings on Monday.

Gatton says it should take about 30 days to finish the project.

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