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

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