Clouds of dust filled the air as the demolition of Scott and Walker residence halls began early morning Wednesday, Sept 16. on Western Carolina University’s campus.
In early May, the dorms shut down permanently to allow the removal of doors, windows, and built-in furniture.
However, the first strike of the long-arm excavator solidified for many the fact that a piece of campus history is being destroyed.
Brian Boyer, residential case manager at WCU, said, “I didn’t watch any of the demolition of Scott and I don’t plan to. It just hurts my heart. I spent almost half of my professional career in Scott and Walker and those buildings are responsible for me truly falling in love with WCU.”
Boyer wasn’t the only person to get sentimental at the thought of the buildings tumbling to the ground.
Logan Michael Day, 2017 graduate of WCU, said “Some of my fondest memories of living in each of the residence halls was simply the tight-knit community. I still have very close relationships with some of my fellow classmates to this day and expect these relationships to last a lifetime.”
Living Learning Communities (LLCs) were a large part of the culture in Scott and Walker and impacted many of its residents.
Zach Wantuch, 2017 graduate of WCU, said “I was an education major my freshmen year and I was in the WheeTeach LLC. I lived on the floor with other Education majors and we had some of the same classes together.”
Wantuch added that as a resident assistant (RA) in Scott, he worked with another LLC called the Band of Brothers that created lasting bonds between the guys involved.
This type of support can be beneficial to freshmen, and Scott hall made that support accessible to all.
Myranda Thompson, 2014/2016 graduate of WCU, said “When first-year students arrive to campus and are away from home for the first time, they need a community to fall back on. Living on campus provides a sense of ownership, individualism, and responsibility. It truly gives you the opportunity to embrace the whole college experience.”
While the demolition of these buildings is necessary due to their age, there are plans to create an equally important space for students to have that college experience in the future.
The plan in place is to rebuild three residence halls in the area where Scott and Walker currently stand. The first two of these halls are projected to be completed by the fall of 2022, with the third being completed later that year.
Matthew Millican, project manager for WCU facilities management, said, “Not only does this project seek to provide residential space to 932 first-year students, but it also looks to redefine the entrance of campus.”
This project is part of a larger plan to bring the focus of campus back to the Highway 107 entrance.
“This new complex will highlight an axial relationship to the central plaza, framing a view of the fountain from our campus entrance. The buildings’ scale will be more representative of other facilities across campus, bringing the heights back down to 4 and 5 stories,” Millican said.
While the demolition of these dorms evokes nostalgia in many, it is also bringing about hope for the future.
“At the end of the day, those buildings have more than served their purpose, and while I am sad to see them go, I look forward to seeing what the future holds for that area of campus,” Boyer said.
A livestream of the demolition has been provided through Vannoy Construction for those interested in watching.