Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Demolition of Brooks Hall: May 31

The wrecking ball has yet to begin knocking down Brooks Hall. During the past week, crews have been busy clearing the surrounding land, digging trenches for utilities and removing furnishings and asbestos from Brooks Hall itself.

PHOTO #1: Here's a shot of the back of Brooks Hall, taken from the top level of the adjacent 5th Street Parking Garage. Construction machines are busy taking metal fixtures removed from inside the building and placing them in large dumpsters for eventual removal.

PHOTO #2: Furniture removed from the rooms sits by a dumpster under the Brooks Arch.

PHOTO #3: Warning signs and tape and the presence of exhaust hose indicate there's asbestos abatement going on inside.

PHOTO #4: Minglewood Bowl, until very recently the site of pickup football and baseball games and other student events, is almost unrecognizable as the open field it was. It now serves as a space to store equipment, locate construction offices and provide parking space for workers.

PHOTO #5: Seventh Street in front of the ROTC Building, looking east toward Pat Neff Hall. It's readily visible that this is no longer a through street, as it has been bisected by the large trench being dug to hold utility pipes.

PHOTO #6: Another view of Minglewood Bowl, this time looking west from Waco Creek toward Kokernot and Brooks.

PHOTO #7: The current state of the remodeled Centennial Fountain, at the base of the bridge over Waco Creek on the Minglewood Bowl side. Some day soon, water will again flow here as it did when the fountain was first put into service in 1945.

PHOTO #8: Plaques at the front of the fountain. The one on the left dates from 1945; the one on the right is brand-new.

Photos by Randy Fiedler.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Demolition of Brooks Hall: May 24

Work continues on clearing the pavement, trees and other items that must be removed to make way for Baylor's new Brooks Village. These photos were taken Wednesday, May 24, about 4 p.m. CST.

PHOTO #1: This view of the front of Brooks Hall (with the famous Brooks Arch) shows the chain link fence which has been erected around the building to restrict entrance only to authorized persons. A large dumpster sits out front, ready to handle any debris.

PHOTO #2: Another view of the front of Brooks Hall.

PHOTO #3: The asphalt and concrete that made up the parking lot and sidewalks adjacent to Kokernot and Brooks Halls and Minglewood Bowl have been dug up, for the most part, and the debris is slowly being taken away in trucks. Some of the parking lot asphalt can be seen piled up at center. Kokernot Hall is to the left, Brooks Hall to the right.

PHOTO #4: Today the mammoth oak tree that stood on the north side of Brooks Hall, facing the parking lot adjacent to Martin Hall and the Fifth Street Parking Garage exit, was taken down. In this photo, a workman with a chain saw is busy cutting the large tree trunk into smaller sections for easier removal.

PHOTO #5: Much of the parking lot next to the Air Force ROTC building (the former Student Health Center) has been closed and put into service as a storage area for construction equipment and supplies. In addition, today I discovered that a large trench has been dug between Waco Creek and the east side of the ROTC building. I'm not sure just what types of pipes or other items might eventually be buried in here.

Photos by Randy Fiedler

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Demolition of Brooks Hall: May 18

Brooks Hall, the oldest residence hall still in use at Baylor, has said goodbye to its last residents to make way for the university’s newest development in student living, Brooks Village.

At its Feb. 3, 2006, meeting, the Baylor Board of Regents authorized the construction of Brooks Village, a 700-bed residential complex, at an estimated cost of $42.8 million. Regents also authorized construction of a $8.3 million parking complex on the southeastern part of campus and approved the issuance of up to $63.5 million in bonds to finance both projects in full.

Named for Baylor’s seventh president, Samuel Palmer Brooks, the five-story Brooks Residence Hall was constructed in 1921.

Groundbreaking ceremonies were held May 12, 2006, for the new Brooks Village, which will consist of two separate facilities. Brooks Flats will be similar to Baylor's North Village Residential Community in terms of design, and will include 316 beds in a combination of four-person apartments. Each unit will have two bathrooms, a kitchen and a living room.

Brooks College, meanwhile, is a 384-bed residential college for freshman as well as upper class students, based on the classic Oxford or Cambridge model of an interdisciplinary residential experience. Brooks College will include spaces that lend themselves to group socializing, including an interior courtyard, junior and senior commons rooms, a Great Hall, a library and a small chapel. The architecture of the residential college will incorporate many of the external features of the current Brooks Hall, including the landmark Brooks Arch and the bust of namesake Samuel Palmer Brooks.

The 800-car parking garage will be built between Eighth and Ninth streets across from Ruth Collins Hall and Mary Gibbs Jones Family and Consumer Sciences Building, and will include about 10,000 square feet of retail and office space. Both Brooks Village and the parking complex are expected to open by the fall 2007 semester.

Demolition of Brooks Hall to make way for Brooks Village started almost immediately after the groundbreaking on May 12. I intend to shoot photos that detail the process of the demolition and construction at different points throughout the next 15 months. These first photos were shot on Thursday, May 18, 2006, at about 1:15 p.m.

PHOTO #1: Bulldozers, water pipe and lots of dirt have taken over the once empty lawn of Minglewood Bowl behind Brooks Hall.

PHOTO #2: Today, construction machines were in the process of removing the asphalt parking lot adjacent to both Minglewood Bowl and Kokernot and Brooks Halls.

PHOTO #3: The view from the Centennial Bridge over Waco Creek looking toward Brooks Hall shows the removal of the parking lot and the steel fencing that has been erected around the construction area.

Photos by Randy Fiedler