The Demolition of W.W. Holes Hall: Memories of the Past and Plans for the Future

W. W. Holes Hall, an nine-floor residential hall erected in 1965 at St. Cloud State University, is slotted for demolition this summer.  The physical demolition of the building will begin on June 1 with the process likely completed by the time students return in the fall, said Dan Pedersen, the director of Residential Life.

“It’s a building that has over 34 million dollars in deferred maintenance.  It was identified to be too much money to put back into a 50-year-old building.  It doesn’t make a lot of sense and it would be putting money into a building design that’s not what the students want,” Pedersen said.

A new building is not being added in place of the hall, but instead a green space featuring a landmark to honor the building will be put in place, which will give students more open space to relax on campus.

Residential Life will be holding an event on April 16 for people with connections to the building to celebrate the memory of Holes Hall, which housed thousands of alumni over the years.  This event will include a tour of the tunnels connecting Holes Hall and Stearns Hall, since a tour of the building itself is not possible.

“We want to have a little bit of a minor celebratory moment to go down and see the tunnels and then hold a reception in the lobby of Stearns Hall and have a poster board series to allow past residents to relive their memories of Holes Hall,” Pedersen said.

A Facebook page named after the hall has gained attention over the past few months and has many posts and pictures from past residents remembering their time living in Holes Hall at SCSU.

“I remember going to a party in Holes Hall my first year at St. Cloud State. The hottest album in the world, Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours,” was playing on the stereo over and over and over at inappropriate volume levels. #GoYourOwnWay,” said one previous resident in a post on the page.

As of now, the only deconstruction being done is a removal of hazardous materials, such as asbestos, the removal of intact furniture from the building, and a rerouting of the fiber optic cables that connect Holes Hall to other buildings, which has warranted construction crews being present on campus.

Much of the furniture that was once in the building is being donated or otherwise utilized by local not-for-profit organizations.

“All of the desk chairs that the campus has no use for have been given to Habitat for Humanity and the mattresses were taken away to be evaluated if they can be utilized by another not-for-profit organization,” Pedersen said.

There are plans for other buildings to be demolished or remodeled in the coming years, including the proposed demolition of Mitchell Hall.  The hall would be replaced by a new, contemporary, suite-style building.  Stearns Hall is also facing impending demolition.  There are plans for a Sherburne Hall remodel as well.

“While you don’t necessarily celebrate a pile of bricks and mortar, you can celebrate the memories that were formed in the building and the allegiances that students made with one another in the institution,” Pedersen said.

Sam Hanson contributed this article to the University Chronicle. 

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