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University Demolition Sees First Kocurek Front in Action

Many Mizzou Alumni may have bittersweet feelings about the demolition of Jones Hall, but the building, which was built in 1954, has seen better days.

Sat May 23, 2015 - Midwest Edition
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AT Industries recently began demolition on a 9-story dormitory on the University of Missouri campus. Many Mizzou Alumni may have bittersweet feelings about the demolition of Jones Hall, but the building, which was built in 1954, has seen better days and will be replaced by a modern dining facility. Once the new building is constructed in 2017, the existing dining facility, 50 yd. (45.7 m) away, will be demolished and construction will then begin on new modern dormitories.

“It seems everywhere I go people know about Jones Hall. Some were disappointed at first because they lived here. Some are excited to see it go down to see new housing being built in its place,” said Steve Short, project manager of AT Industries demolition division.

The main phase of demolition was completed using a Kobelco SK500LC-9 with the first 96 ft. (29 m) Kocurek 3-piece demolition high reach front in Company Wrench’s fleet. Kocurek Demolition Fronts, which are popular in Europe, have just become available in North America, being distributed through Company Wrench.

With class in session, hundreds of students regularly walk past the demolition zone between lectures, snapping videos and pictures of the historic building’s destruction. Since the site is in such a central location on the busy college campus, explosives were not an option and the company was contemplating using an old-school approach; a crane and wrecking ball. The building is made up of older pan-style reinforced concrete, flat border place slabs throughout the center of the building, and masonry exterior with aluminum windows. Although a wrecking ball would have been a viable option, the field superintendent running the project suggested using a high reach machine because it offers much more control and efficiency.

“What we find with the high reach machine is it increases our speed and control in our ability to get the building down quickly and safely. As you can see, we’ve done pretty well so far in the first week; by the end of this week, its going to look like a big rubbish pile,” said Short.

This project is AT Industries’s first high-rise demolition and first time they had cause to rent a high reach excavator. They regularly perform abatement demolition projects that span in size from small houses to large retail stores and schools. Their next job will be tearing down a 2-story structure in the downtown Kansas City area.

“We are pretty impressed with the results and are making good time on this job,” said Short, “Once we get it all down and process the materials, we’ll be able to convert 95 percent of our material into recycling products, diverting it from landfills.”

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