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Wetzel Hall Demolition Ready to Roll

Contractors are making final preparations for the implosion of Wetzel Hall at Western Illinois University on Saturday, July 14 at 7:00 am.

They have been going door-to-door in the neighborhoods near the building to talk about what to expect and to review evacuation procedures.

James Santoro of Controlled Demolition, Inc said the implosion might sound like a loud thunderstorm to those near the site when the building comes down. It might sound like a car backfiring to those a bit further away.

“I would think most people several blocks away won't even know that it's going on,” Santoro said.

Just a shell of the building remains. Many of the items in the building have been removed. It's estimated 95% of the building's materials will be recycled/repurposed.

Santoro said the building should fall pretty much within its footprint.

“We do that by removing columns in a sequential fashion, moving from one point in the building to another point with delays of about a half-second between those column eliminations,” Santoro said.

“That allows us to control the rate of failure and the direction that the building is being pulled in.”

Demolition of the building is part of the WIU Master Plan. The school will landscape the site into a park.

Ted Renner, Deputy Director of the WIU Physical Plant, said the majority of the debris should be gone by the first week of classes of the fall semester.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.