September 19, 2021

NIU’s Douglas Hall demolition underway

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DeKALB – You can watch the methodical deconstruction of Northern Illinois University’s Douglas Hall from the comfort of home.

A live camera with a web feed is trained just west of the 51-year-old, five-story residence hall, capturing both equipment and crews working to dismantle the building in a way that allows most of the materials to be recycled. The interior demolition began in mid-November, and the building is expected to be gone by the end of March, NIU spokesman Paul Palian said.

“It’s a long process because what they are doing is recycling the materials that are in there,” Palian said. “You can see them separating out steel from concrete. It’s projected that 80 percent of the building will be recycled.”

Douglas Hall housed NIU students from 1963 to May, but it wasn't a good candidate for renovation as it had no air conditioning and no elevators. Its removal is part of a $4.5 million plan to extend Lucinda Avenue west to Stadium Drive, which would make it a major east-west thoroughfare on campus.

Some of the recycled materials from Douglas Hall will be used on the road extension project, for which officials plan to seek bids in January or February, Palian said.

LVI Environmental Services Inc. of Villa Park was awarded a $1.2 million contract to remove asbestos from the building, which was finished Sept. 15.

American Demolition Corp. of Elgin was among four companies bidding on the building's demolition. Its estimate was for about $1.4 million, according to the Illinois Public Higher Education Procurement Bulletin.

Those wishing to watch the deconstruction online can visit http://douglascamera.niu.edu.