The Holland Centennial Commons is up and running, and the Whitehead demolition has begun after the state deemed it unsafe.
Sherry Ruesch, executive director of campus services, said she’s been working very closely on the plans for the Holland construction and Whitehead demolition for the past two years. She said she’s thrilled to see students’ excitement at the changes happening at DSC.
“The Whitehead was supposed to be knocked down before students starting arriving for classes,” Ruesch said. “But the hazardous materials inside the building made the process take longer than expected.”
Ruesch explained that as the construction workers started knocking down the building they found more and more hazardous material, including old insulation and lead paint.
“It’s required that everything be safe before they start the demolition,” Ruesch said. “But they’ve started on the Career Center now and then they will bulldoze the rest during the first week of school.”
Dean of Students Del Beatty said the building was one of the first to be built on DSC’s campus.
“I know many people are sad to see it go,” Beatty said.
Ruesch explained that while the building evokes many fond memories, especially to the DSC alumni, the structural problems caused the concrete overhangs to sag.
“It was more cost effective to take the building down and make plans for the space than to renovate the old building,” Ruesch said.
Kara Anderson, a junior psychology major from Ely, Nev., said she is ready for the changes that are happening on campus.
“Having a professional look and atmosphere makes the students work harder and feel more empowered,” Anderson said. “I like that it gives DSC a more professional, university-like feel.”
Ruesch said the demolition will proceed through the first week of school.
“The Whitehead being torn down will be loud, but I’m sure the students will like that they can actually see the demolition process taking place,” Ruesch said.
Beatty said the plans for the space consist of an outdoor study mall with a fountain and Wi-Fi for students to be able to relax and study.
“It will be one of the only outdoor study malls in the state,” Beatty said. “It’ll have a Town Square type feel to it.”
Ruesch said while the plans for the study mall aren’t quite finished, the space where the Whitehead stands will look finished after the demolition.
“We’re not just going to leave the space in rubble,” Ruesch said. “We will finish the sidewalks and add a grassy area while we wait for more private donations to fund the project.”
Ruesch said the construction, reconstruction and demolition of buildings will add a lot more space to DSC’s campus whereas it is hard to purchase new land to build on.
“We’re doing these step-by-step improvements to add more space to DSC’s campus because it’s necessary for the growth of the school,” Ruesch said. “We need the space.”
Ruesch said it’ll be another three to six months before they start the construction on the new study mall and encourages students to check out the Holland building in the mean time.