Ball State University set to begin demolition of largest housing complex on campus

50-year-old LaFollette complex houses about 1,900 students.

Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., is moving forward with plans to demolish the 50-year-old LaFollette Complex, the largest residence hall group on campus.

The Muncie Star Press reports that Mysch/Hurst Hall and Woody/Shales Hall will be the first sections of LaFollette to come down, starting this summer.

The nine-story-tall, 531,793-square-feet facility opened in 1967, says Alan Hargrave, director of housing and residence life. It houses about 1,900 students.

Most freshmen at Ball State lived in LaFollette, but typically don't want to stay there more than a year, Hargrave says.

"Thousands and thousands of students have lived here over the course of its tenure, so it has served the university well," says Hargrave. "The university has gotten a lot of use out of it. It still has the original windows. We've done our part to keep it safe and well maintained."

The university has issued notices to bidders for demolition and asbestos abatement to start May 8, with a completion date of Sept. 29, at an estimated cost of $3.4 million.

LaFollette was built long before the Americans with Disabilities Act became law in 1990. Among other drawbacks, the ceilings are low, and there is no natural light in the long corridors.

Three sections are scheduled for demolition this summer: the northwest wing, and the north section of the northeast wing. In total this summer, 126,000 square feet of the building will be demolished. Ball State plans to raze the remaining sections in 2021.

Beginning this summer and continuing for the next several years, the razed sections of LaFollette will be replaced with new housing.

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