University of Nebraska dormitories set for implosion

University of Nebraska dormitories set for implosion

The Lincoln campus dorms have been housing students since 1963.


Two dormitories at the University of Nebraska Lincoln campus will come down in a 10-second implosion Dec. 22, a report by the Lincoln Journal Star says. The two towers have been part of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus since 1963.

Thousands of small explosions will be simultaneously triggered to weaken the columns supporting the 13-story towers, the report says. Once the supports come down, the dorms’ weight will cause their iron supports to collapse onto a space that once held a shared dining hall.

The university began preparing for the implosion in May by removing windows, heavy furniture and any mechanical parts of the dorms that could become projectiles during the implosion while removing asbestos from the building. Controlled Demolition Inc. (CDI), Phoenix, Maryland, has been working on rigging the implosion site for weeks.

CDI Used jackhammers and drills to damage internal support structures, such as elevator shafts and stairwells, and drilled holes into the 64 columns supporting each floor, the report says. Each hold drilled in the columns of the basement and first floor structures are being fitted with 1 ½ sticks of dynamite and holes in the second, fourth, sixth, eighth and 11th floors were fitted with ½ stick.

A chain-link fence and geotextile fabric will be wrapped around each of the columns to contain larger debris and catch dust and particulates. The report says the lower floors are also lined with curtains made from the materials to minimize the amount of debris thrown out during the implosion. Shipping containers supplied by Ark Wrecking, Tulsa, Oklahoma, will be fitted with netting to stop debris from scattering while being hauled away.

The charges have been wired with redundancies to avoid what Grant Watson, the university’s construction manager, calls a “Pontiac Silverdome situation,” the report says. The detonation will be triggered from across the street.

Once the implosion is done, piles of rubble between 20 feet and 35 feet high will remain and crews will cleanup the space.