Science Classroom Building demolition begins

The demolition of the Science Classroom Building started this morning at 10:30 a.m. to make way for the new Science Teaching and Student Services (ST+SS) Center to open fall 2010.

Matt Mead

The demolition of the Science Classroom Building started this morning at 10:30 a.m. to make way for the new Science Teaching and Student Services (ST+SS) Center to open fall 2010.

University of Minnesota President Bob Bruininks was the first to get his âÄúclawsâÄù into the Science Classroom Building. At a kick-off event Thursday morning, Bruininks sat in the cab of the hydraulic claw to tear the first pieces off of the soon-to-be demolished Science Classroom Building. It will make way for the new Science Teaching and Student Services Center, which promises to be a better looking and more practical facility. Tim Busse, University Services spokesman, said the building demolition will cause a âÄúpinchâÄù in the areaâÄôs traffic system, which is already short on space due to restrictions on the Washington Avenue Bridge. âÄúThey are going to be using heavy equipment to pull the building down, and as students come back itâÄôs going to be very different,âÄù he said. Construction fencing has already been installed around the site, and traffic signs were placed to re-route pedestrian and bicycle traffic. Project Executive Justin Grussing said student traffic will be directed to the bridge near Kolthoff Hall. Demolition will take about one month and construction will last about 18 months, Grussing said, with the current pedestrian and bicycle re-routes staying in place throughout most of the project. Grussing said he is hoping that the new building will be open for classes by fall 2010. There will be a six to eight week period this summer when there will be no pedestrian traffic on the bridge that connects Kolthoff Hall to the Washington Avenue Bridge because a portion will need to be reconstructed. During that time, pedestrians will use the side of the bridge by the Weisman Art Museum, Grussing said. Kate McBee, a senior global studies student, said the new traffic route is âÄúcompletely inconvenient.âÄù McBee, who has 15 minutes between morning classes to get from Nicholson Hall to Hanson Hall on the West Bank , said the new path in front of Kolthoff Hall disrupts her route and takes quite a bit longer. Mark Adamson, the project manager from McGough Construction, which will be doing the project, said theyâÄôve been working for months to reduce the noise and vibration impact on classroom buildings during demolition and construction. Prior to construction, McGough began monitoring current vibrations around nearby buildings, Adamson said. Once construction starts, McGough will continue to monitor the impact of construction work. During demolition, McGough will use a hydraulic claw instead of a wrecking ball, which will limit vibrations. The University is also looking into ways the project can be friendlier to the environment. More than 80 percent of the materials from the demolished Science Classroom Building will be recycled and used elsewhere. The Capital Planning and Project Management department also hopes to obtain LEED Gold certification for the new center, which is one of the highest “green” honors a structure can receive. The University asked the state Legislature to fund the project in 2006, but it took until last year to receive funding. The project is estimated to cost $72.5 million.