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Demolition begins on Harper Center

The removal of Harden Dining Hall, and Moffitt and Staley halls, is the next step in the future construction of the Global Neighborhood.

The first moments of demolition on Harper Center took place at 8:30 a.m. on the southeast corner of Harden Dining Hall.

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A wrecking machine tore into the southeast corner of Harden Dining Hall just after 8:30 a.m. Thursday, pulling down brick, steel, concrete and metal as crews begin demolition of Harper Center.

The end of Harden Dining Hall, as well as Moffitt and Staley residential halls, marks the first step in the next chapter of university history in north campus. Once the site is cleared of debris, which the project superintendent estimates will take about eight weeks, construction will begin on the Global Neighborhood.

“It doesn’t really take too long. Once you get started, things go quickly,” said Tim Fields, the superintendent for D.H. Griffin Wrecking Company. “And we’ll recycle almost everything. We take all the metal back to our scrapyard.”

Charles Atkins was the operator of the machine that started knocking over the building.

Harper Center has served generations of Elon students since first opening in 1968. Three hundred students called the buildings “home” each academic year.

For John Miles, a traffic coordinator for Campus Safety and Police onsite Thursday to keep passersby at a safe distance from the work, the end of Harden Dining Hall brings him full circle back to when he was among the original employees to serve food in there when it first opened.

Miles, then a senior at Western Alamance High School, recalled his transfer from McEwen Dining Hall to Harden, and the pride he felt in working for what was then a state-of-the-art facility. “It’s sad. I’ve thought about this many times,” Miles said. “This place has a lot of memories for me.”

Much of the material from the building will be recycled by D.H. Griffin Wrecking Company.

The six-building Global Neighborhood planned for the site previously occupied by Harper Center and Story Center, the latter of which was torn down in 2011, will house 600 students. This innovative residential area will include a 30,000-square-foot commons building on the shore of Lake Mary Nell, housing the Isabella Cannon International Centre, classrooms, faculty offices and ample study rooms and large gathering spaces.

The Global Neighborhood will include faculty-in-residence and several language learning communities, including La Casa de Español, La Maison Francaise, Japanese House, La Casa Italiana, and Deutsches Haus.

Also under construction is a new dining hall that will be attached to Moseley Center, nearly doubling the size of the existing building.

The demolition is expected to last between eight and 10 weeks.

To share your stories of Harper Center, visit the Elon University Facebook fan page or the Elon Alumni Association Facebook fan page.

Eric Townsend,
Staff
6/21/2012 2:24 PM