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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

June 10, 2005

Q&A: Knapp-Storms demolition

One project swallowing a lot of project manager Kerry Dixon-Fox's time this spring and summer is the demolition of Knapp and Storms residence halls, the two north buildings in the "Towers" neighborhood. Dixon-Fox answered some Inside questions about the popular building project. (Other questions are answered at a designated Web site.

What will be done to the buildings to "prep" them for the implosion?

  • The university removes all furnishings from the building.
  • All asbestos-containing floor tile, pipe insulation, glazing compound, caulk and plasters are removed by the university's hazardous materials abatement contractor.
  • Demolition contractors remove most of the remaining materials in the buildings -- doors, bathroom fixtures, carpeting, lights, smoke detectors, piping and potentially all electrical wiring.
  • Key structural supports are exposed by removing interior, non-load bearing walls and piping. This process will take several weeks to complete.
  • Small-diameter holes will be drilled at specific locations. Explosives are placed inside the holes and equipped with internal, non-electric timing devices that will fire on queue. Once these "charges" have been placed, they will be covered to prevent flying debris.
  • Explosives will not be brought to the site until 24 to 48 hours prior to the event. Once the explosives are on site, campus and city police officers will secure the site.
  • Final wiring will take place the morning of the implosion.

What's the implosion plan?

The towers will implode almost simultaneously. There will be a planned, slight delay between the implosion of the first tower and the second. The implosion will cause the interior structure of each tower to rotate outward and away from the commons food service facility between the two towers. Knapp Hall will collapse to the east and Storms Hall will collapse to the west.

How long will the implosion take?

The implosion will occur in less than 60 seconds.

Where can we watch it?

The implosion can be viewed from two public viewings areas:

  • East side of the recreation fields along Ash Avenue
  • West side of the cross-country fields along State Avenue

There will be no parking at the viewing locations. Spectators may park at the Iowa State Center lots.

What will it cost?

Key components of the project break down as follows (all figures are approximate):

  1. Removal of furnishings: $35,000
  2. Hazardous material abatement: $1 million
  3. Demolition, hauling and site grading: $1.475 million
  4. Replacement of boilers and piping in the commons: $440,000

What will be left after the implosion?

A pile of rubble approximately 40 feet tall will remain for each tower. The contractor immediately will begin to remove the debris, although this process will last approximately five weeks. Most of the demolition debris will be concrete, which the university will store and later crush into gravel to be used as base material in driveways and parking areas at the new dairy facility south of town. The remaining demolition debris belongs to the contractor, who typically recycles eligible materials and landfills what's left.

What's the plan for the building site?

The site will be returned to green space, including grass, trees and additional sidewalks to provide access to the food service facility in the Knapp-Storms commons.

Knapp Tower

Smoke poured from the windows of Knapp Hall recently as Ames firefighters used the soon-to-be-demolished building for high-rise emergency training. Firefighters used live fire in the May 26 exercise. Photo by Bob Elbert.