Minnesota State University, Mankato President Richard Davenport announced today that the 47-year old Gage residence hall towers on campus, which housed more than 50,000 students over their history, would be imploded the weekend of June 29-30.
The Gage implosion is likely to occur in the morning hours on either Saturday, June 29 or Sunday, June 30, with weather conditions the primary factor in determining the safest time for the event. If weather conditions prevent a June 29 or 30 implosion, the implosion will occur at a similar time on the following weekend (July 6-7).
“The Gage residence towers have been a landmark on campus and in Mankato for nearly 50 years,” said Davenport. “Thousands of our alums have wonderful memories of living in the towers. We are hoping for a great turnout in June to celebrate those memories. Imploding the towers is part of our campus master plan, as we look toward the future with ‘big ideas’ and ‘real-world thinking.’ The two new state-of-the-art residence buildings we have opened within the last few years are just one example of the green footprint and ‘global solutions’ we are developing for our campus.”
Minnesota State Mankato administrators consulted with the City of Mankato and the Mankato Department of Public Safety to determine the most opportune time for the implosion. Campus and public information meetings to discuss the process, scheduling and removals associated with the Gage Complex will be announced in April after a contract for the demolition has been awarded.
On the date of implosion, a 1,000-foot radius “safe zone” is required around the site for 12 hours prior to and 8 hours after the implosion. All buildings and grounds within that 1,000 foot radius will be “off limits” during those hours. The area shaded in red in the chart below illustrates the 1,000-foot radius “off limits” safe zone.
No events or activities will be permitted or scheduled in the red-shaded area beginning at 4 p.m. Friday, June 28 through 5 p.m. Sunday, June 30 or at the same times the following weekend in case of a weather delay.
An off-limits safe zone will be enforced beginning at 4 p.m. Friday, June 28; it will include Centennial Student Union, Wigley Administration Building, Morris Hall, Otto Rec Center, Highland Center, Pennington Hall, the three practice football fields, plus numerous other athletic and campus recreation venues.
In addition, Stadium Road will be closed at Warren Street and James Avenue as well as the West Road/Maywood route through campus.
For several weeks after the implosion, Ellis Avenue from Stadium Road to Parking Lot 1 will experience increased congestion caused by trucks removing debris. Facilities Services is currently developing a plan to modify access and parking to ease conflict and congestion.
IMPLOSION WEEKEND EVENTS
Minnesota State Mankato’s Office of Alumni Relations is planning a number of events in association with the Gage demolition. On Friday evening, June 28, various “Demolition Parties” at area businesses in Mankato will feature food specials, Gage trivia, prizes and Gage memorabilia for sale. Plans for gatherings will be featured on the official Gage website (www.mnsu.edu/gage) as details become available.
On Saturday, June 29, there will be a short program inside the demolition viewing area (behind Blakeslee) with brief comments by Davenport and others. After the event itself, the alumni office has plans for an off-campus breakfast and will provide campus tours.
RentMSU/Tailwind Group is the lead sponsor of implosion weekend events. Additional sponsorship opportunities are available by contacting the Office of Alumni Relations at 507-389-1794.
MEMORABILIA AND MORE
The alumni office has acquired mailbox covers and bricks from the building and will be offering these items for sale. Proceeds from all memorabilia sales will go to the university’s scholarship fund and Alumni Excellence account. The alumni office will announce more details about the demolition events in the coming months.
For questions on the demolition, please contact Martin Rost, planning and construction project manager, or Chandler Holland, director of the Office of Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management at 507-389-5568.
For questions about alumni events, please contact Jen Myers, interim director of alumni relations, at 507-389-1794.
The Gage buildings have been a prominent landmark in Mankato and the river valley areas, and are well-known throughout the south central Minnesota region.
Construction on the 135-foot towers began in 1964 and was completed in time for the first students to move in for the 1965-66 school year. When Gage opened in 1965-66, the total cost of room and board for one academic year was $630. In Gage’s final academic year, 2011-12, that cost was $6,555.
At the time of construction, the Gage buildings were the tallest in Mankato. The Gage complex cost $2.57 million to build, a figure that would be the equivalent of approximately $17.87 million in today’s dollars.
The Gage complex was designed to hold 1,136 students, but may have been home to as many as 1,272 students at any one time. At its construction, Gage was the largest single dormitory in the Minnesota State College System. Gage originally started out as having A Tower set aside for men, and B Tower set aside for women. Through the years, Gage became co-ed by floor.
The Gage residence hall buildings were last occupied by students during the 2011-12 academic year and closed in August 2012 after the Minnesota Vikings training camp.