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25 April 2005

JSU's Smokestacks to Come Down

By Sherry Kughn
JSU News Bureau

One of the most noticeable landmarks on the Jacksonville State University campus is coming down. Scaffolding around the red brick smokestacks near Trustee Circle could begin as early as May 2. Demolition will begin during the first two weeks in May.

Both of the 165-foot and the 110-foot smokestacks have provided a visual landmark for five generations of people who have maneuvered the historic part of the campus behind Bibb Graves. Maintenance crews will knock the smokestacks down brick by brick from the inside so they will fall in upon themselves. The process should take about a month, and the exact schedule for demolition depends on timely delivery of scaffolding, other materials, and weather conditions. The walls of each smokestack are about two feet thick.

The smokestacks are remnants of a coal-fed steam plant that provided steam heat to several buildings on campus from the early and mid-1950s until they were last used in 2002.

“The smokestacks are no longer safe,” said Mr. Clint Carlson, vice president for administrative and business affairs. “Metal bands have kept the bricks in place for years.”

The steam plant beneath the smokestacks is currently being demolished. Independent steam boilers now provide heat for the buildings at JSU.

A visual arts annex for the art department will be erected in the space vacated by the steam plant and smokestacks.

“We are always making progress toward improving the campus,” said Mr. Carlson. “It is vital that we look ahead to keep our buildings safe and efficient. A campus is an ever-changing place.”

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