A reporter asked John Weiske, director of housing and residence life, if he felt sentimental watching the excavator crash into a Stadium Apartment building. Demolition of the 40-year structure, a place Weiske called home during graduate school at UMD, started this week. He thought about it for a moment, and then responded, “No. From a project standpoint, it’s good to have the demolition underway.”
All three Stadium Apartment buildings are scheduled to be completely demolished by April. The decision to flatten the buildings was made in 2008, after a renovation study revealed that it would cost $12-million to bring the buildings up to code. “We also found out that we would lose space because the bathrooms needed to be made handicapped accessible,” says Weiske.
Expansion wasn’t an option. Tischer Creek, a protected trout stream, is just steps away from the buildings. That designation means more open space at UMD. “The site will remain green space within 100 feet of Tischer Creek,” says John Rashid, associate director of Facilities Management. The use of the potential building space is still in the planning stage.
Throughout the process, sustainability was embedded in plans for Stadium Apartments’ demolition. Fire alarm panels and water heaters were re-used, cement blocks and bricks were also ground and recycled.
It’s not just the materials from Stadium Apartments that were recycled. “We reused desks, couches, and chairs in other UMD buildings,” says John Kessler, project manager for Facilities Management. What UMD didn’t need went to those in need. “Eight semi loads of dressers, wardrobes, coffee tables, lamps, and dining room tables went to Goodwill."
The Stadium Apartments, built in 1972, provided apartment style housing for 312 students. Each apartment featured two single bedrooms and one double bedroom. A hallmark of the Stadium Apartments was the spiral staircase to connect the lower and upper levels of a limited number of two-story apartments. The upper floors of Stadium Apartments also provided viewing of sporting events at Malosky Stadium. Kessler graduated from UMD and remembers seeing students on the upper floors, sitting on couches that had been shimmied up to window level, cheering for the home team.
Alumni like Weiske and Kessler have an opportunity to buy a bit of Stadium's history; UMD's Office of Alumni Relations is selling bricks for $25. The bricks have a metal plate identifying it as Stadium Apartments with the dates of its presence on campus, December 1973 – May 2013.
Story by Lori C. Melton