Morrill Hall has been a prominent feature on the campus of Michigan State University since 1900 when the building was built. Housing the first female dormitories, it’s considered to be the oldest structure still standing on campus. But after several inspections revealed that its wooden structure had deteriorated beyond repair, the school decided that it was time to lay this historic property to rest.
As the school likely realized, the building was no longer safe for the students to reside in; and despite its historic significance to the school, the building had become a dangerous liability that school couldn’t risk keeping. The demolition process began back in March for the school after filling out paperwork and requesting permission from the city of East Lansing. According to the school, the process should be completed in August.
Decisions such as this are often times difficult to make for property owners such as colleges and universities. For some, keeping the original architecture means keeping the original vision of the school alive. By tearing down a piece of history, the school board members may have felt like they are taking away a piece of the school’s identity. But as a recent fire in Morrill Hall proves, the safety of the student tenants is much more important than saving history.
According to reports, the recent fire broke out on the buildings roof this month, speculated to have started in the attic. Although inspectors aren’t sure whether the fire broke out as a result of demolition work or not, the school has announced that the area is still safe and that the demolition work will continue. As for the students who resided in the hall, they had already been moved to other dormitories prior to the demolition work. Thankfully, no one was reported to have been injured as a result of the fire.
Source: mlive.com, “Michigan State’s Morrill Hall demolition still on track after fire,” Brandon Howell, May 16, 2013