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Annette Hacker, director,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777

7-19-05

Towers come tumbling down

by Anne Krapfl

crowd scene

Months of planning and site preparation ended in a brief 14 seconds on July 19 when the Knapp and Storms residence halls were imploded. The implosion occurred at 10:05 a.m., and an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 people gathered to watch it.

From the firing of the first audible explosives to the creation of two piles of concrete rubble, about 14 seconds passed. A breeze carried a large cloud of dust to the northeast and the building piles were clearly visible within about three minutes.

"I thought the project was perfect," said Doug Loizeaux, vice president of Controlled Demolition Inc., Baltimore, which carried out the implosion.

He said crews used 110 pounds of explosives on four levels in each building -- on low floors to knock out support columns sequentially and on upper floors to break up debris to aid in the clean-up process. As planned, Knapp Hall fell slightly to the east and Storms Hall fell slightly to the west.

"The explosives are just the catalyst," Loizeaux said. "We let gravity do most of the work."

crowd scene

The two-story commons facility between the two towers, which still is in use, looked fine after a first walk around the site, Loizeaux said.

Iowa State's project manager Kerry Dixon-Fox said "things went like a dream for us."

"I'm ecstatic that things went so well," she said.

Ames firefighters were hosing down the debris piles within an hour of the implosion to keep dust down. Crews from Peterson Contractors Inc., Reinbeck, will begin to clear away the concrete debris on July 20. That process is expected to take five to six weeks.

Knapp and Storms were brought down because both buildings have significant deferred maintenance, including irreparable facade damage. Storms closed in 2003 and Knapp closed in 2004.

Towers begin to fall down
Towers halfway down
cloud of dust
Towers completely down

Photos by Bob Elbert.

Streaming video

View streaming video of the implosion. You'll need RealPlayer to view the video. Download RealPlayer.