I was just reading that demolition has started on the physics building I pretty much called home for my undergrad career. It's all to make room for the new CCIS building. Judging from the webcam perched on top of the BioSci building, it looks like about half the building is gone already.
It's nice to hear that the Physics department will finally be getting some nice new modern facilities to work in, but it does make me a little bit sad to hear the building I practically lived in for 5 years is going away. There are a lot of memories in that building.
The demolition method being used to take the building down sounds kind of cool though. Take the insides out by plowing through all the interior walls with a Bobcat, then perch a backhoe on the roof to take the rest of the building down level by level. I'm sure there are more than a few former residents/students that wouldn't have minded being the bobcat or backhoe operator.
For five weeks, bobcats were driven on each floor, taking down walls and leaving only the basic concrete and steel supports in place.
Then, to take down the exterior, a single backhoe was hoisted onto the roof with a crane. Armed with a hydraulic "cruncher" -- basically a big pair of scissors capable of cutting through solid materials -- the backhoe began ripping up the roof.
Piece by piece, the top was dismantled until the backhoe was sitting on a tiny "island." The operator then used some of the debris to build a ramp down to the next floor. Once safely down, the backhoe pulled down the island.
Crews now plan to repeat this process, floor by floor, until nothing remains. The job is expected to be complete in early February. Some observers might think a wrecking ball would be a faster approach, but Ferguson said it can actually take longer because it is less precise that the backhoes.