BOONE — While construction on three new residence halls is underway on the west side of Appalachian State University’s campus, crews are also starting the demolition process for nearby Justice Hall.
Justice Hall will be replaced by New River Hall (Building 400) in phase three of the west campus residence hall construction. Justice is one of seven residence halls that is being replaced by the $191 million public-private partnership (P3) between ASU, private developer RISE and nonprofit asset manager Beyond Owners Group.
Justice Hall is a four story building that housed around 300 students, according to Associate Vice Chancellor for Finance and Operations Matt Dull in a May 25 podcast. At that time, students who had occupied that building before being asked to leave campus for the COVID-19 pandemic were able to come retrieve their belongings. At that time, Dull said demolition of Justice Hall was to take place until about mid- to late-October.
Conventional demolition methods with construction equipment will be used, according to the university.
During construction, Dull said crews were focused on taking the building down, hauling off material and getting the site prepped for construction in January 2021 for New River Hall. The university had design documents for the project as of late May.
App State stated that construction on campus continues during the pandemic because discontinuing projects would severely impact project costs to the state, as re-starting a project after pausing would require more money as well as increase the risk of material delays and some subcontractors going out of business. Additionally, the university stated that the financial feasibility of the project is based on a timeline tied to the academic year.
Construction still continues on Thunder Hill Hall (Building 100) and Raven Rocks Hall (Building 200), and Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs Paul Forte said on June 26 that the buildings are on track to be completed on July 31. In late May, Dull said workers were putting in the interior finishes to Thunder Hill Hall, such as blinds, shelving and mirrors. Raven Rocks Hall was a little further along in the process, and at that time was ready to have its electricity turned on. With electricity turned on, crews could start operating elevators, which meant they were able to move in furniture.
“When we started the podcast we were talking about a pile of dirt, and here we are a little over a year later and we’re talking about moving in furniture in just a few weeks,” Dull said in late May.
Forte also mentioned on June 26 that phase two is on track, which includes the plans for Laurel Creek Hall (Building 300). Construction for Laurel Creek Hall began on Feb. 14, and when finished the building will have approximately 640 beds. During the podcast, Dull said crews were working on preparations for mechanical, electrical and plumbing below the project’s concrete slabs. The project’s framing was scheduled to start July 1.