Payne demolished: New dorms emerge amidst rubble

Winter Keefer

The first phase of replacing the Quad I dorms with a new housing facility began in early July with the demolition of Payne Hall and the start of construction on the first two new dorm buildings.

re-DormConstruction1.SSThe start of the process leading to the complete demolition of Payne was the abatement of asbestos, a carcinogenic mineral used in many old building material, associate director of Engineering and Planning/Grounds Jim Thams, said.

Next, Payne had to be physically separated from the rest of the Quad I area before actual demolition began.
Removing debris and setting the footings and foundations for two new buildings is the last phase of demolition and is expected to be completed in September, Thams said.

“Right now we are making very good progress,” he said. “We are still on schedule for the entire project’s completion in time for the fall semester of 2018.”

Construction of the south two buildings of the new Quad I dorms is already in progress, Thams said. Walls will be going up this fall semester. The construction of the next two middle buildings will begin after the complete demolition of Payne.

Buildings will open up for students in three phases, Thams said. The southern two buildings will become open for the fall semester of 2017, adding 400 beds. The middle two buildings will open in the winter semester of 2018, adding an additional 400 beds, and the last two buildings will open the following fall semester of 2018 with the final 400 beds becoming available to students, he said.

“No problems have come up so far,” Thams said. “So we are 12 months away from the first two buildings being open for students.”

The next building in the phase of demolition is Halverson, with demolition beginning in the summer of 2017.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a project like this move this aggressively on campus,” he said. “It is really exciting to see.”

Senior elementary special education major, Paige Lamb said she lived in Payne her first year at NMU in 2013. “I actually watched them tear my room down when I was upstairs in the library, and it was very sad,” Lamb said.

“It’s bittersweet though because I’m excited that they’re renovating the school, and they’re having new places for people to build memories. But it’s sad that mine has been torn down with the building.”

Lamb said there was an amazing community between houses in Payne freshman year. That is one of the most important parts of dorm life and the new buildings will offer that to the next generation of students, she said.

It’s really awesome for new students and incoming students even this year because they’ll be seeing all of these new buildings being built and they’ll see that our campus is growing, Lamb said.

“Feeling comfortable in where you’re living is a great thing, and having other opportunities to meet people with different community spaces will be awesome for students coming in.”