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Old student union demolition to continue into December

Students, faculty and staff watched construction crews pick apart and tear down most of the old Marshall Center last week, but they shouldn’t expect the demolition to be finished anytime soon. It’s likely, however, that inconveniences like the noise and debris associated with the demolition have ceased.

The area won’t be completely cleared until December, said Marshall Student Center Director Joe Synovec. One reason it is taking so long is that almost all the materials from the old student union will be recycled.

Before the building was demolished, all the carpeting, furniture, appliances and other removable objects were recycled or reallocated to other areas of the University, he said.

Officials plan to recycle the concrete and building materials as well. The concrete will be ground up to fill in the area where the building’s basement was and support the plaza that will take the old student union’s place, Synovec said.

“We’re recycling everything that can be recycled,” he said.

All this recycling will offset the cost of demolition, Synovec said. Though it’s unclear how much the demolition itself cost, he said that the overall construction costs of the Marshall Student Center — which include demolition of the old one — would have been higher. It cost about $49 million to build the new Marshall Student Center and demolish the old one. Plumbing, electricity and other installation costs brought that figure to $65 million.

USF Bookstore employee Eileen Blake said the demolition made the inside of the Bookstore sound like a “war zone.”

“The Bookstore is feeling some shakes and some rumblings,” said Grace McQueen, Bookstore manager. “(But) it’s manageable.”

During the initial demolition, construction workers sprayed the site with a fire hose to keep the dust away from spectators. Though this did not keep it all away, the dust created was not a health hazard, said Charles Brown, safety and compliance manager of environmental health and safety.

“All of the hazardous materials were removed beforehand,” he said, adding that maybe those with allergies might be bothered, at most.

Some spectators wanted the building to be reused in a different way.

Meica Elridge, Human Resources employee, said USF should have kept the building and used it for something else.

“They could’ve allowed the space to be used for meeting rooms,” she said.

Greg Johnson, a senior art major, didn’t want the building demolished.

“It’s too bad they didn’t have some way to keep it,” he said.

Mike Jaciuk, a junior civil engineering major, thought the old building needed to go, calling it an “eyesore.”