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Vanderbilt announces plan to demolish towers on West End Avenue

by Jun. 24, 2019, 9:45 AM

University taking down traditional residence halls to broaden investment in residential colleges

Vanderbilt University will bring down one of its tallest campus buildings when it conducts a controlled implosion of the Carmichael West Tower 3 residence hall on Saturday, July 27. The adjacent Carmichael West Tower 4 will be taken down later this summer through mechanical demolition, the university announced today.

The implosion of the 14-story Tower 3 is scheduled for 9 a.m. The approximately seven-minute process will be overseen by Layton Construction, LLC, which is conducting ongoing construction in Vanderbilt’s West End Neighborhood, and Controlled Demolition, Inc. (CDI), a national leader in large-structure controlled demolition.

A livestream of the event will be available at vu.edu/towers, a website highlighting the buildings’ rich history through photos, video and more.

The removal of Carmichael Towers 3 and 4 this summer to make way for three new residential colleges in the West End Neighborhood aligns with Vanderbilt’s Academic Strategic Plan, a key pillar of which is to strengthen the undergraduate residential experience, as well as FutureVU, the university’s initiative to enhance the places on campus where community members live, work and learn.

“Vanderbilt, not unlike the rest of Nashville, is evolving. This project—quite tangibly—exemplifies the monumental shift from a traditional housing experience for our undergraduates to immersing them in living-learning environments that encompass our values as a university,” Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos said. “These diverse communities, rooted in scholarly pursuits, are an amazing experience for our students and our faculty.”

The new residential colleges will build upon the successful programming already in place at The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons, Warren and Moore Colleges and, most recently, E. Bronson Ingram College.

“We have world-class faculty who share their expertise and knowledge in the classroom, but including them in the residential colleges allows for truly unique ways to further enrich the teaching and scholarship experiences of both our students and faculty,” Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan R. Wente said. “Combining the learning and discovery missions of our university with our whole-person educational philosophy has created a one-of-a-kind experience for our students and faculty members, exactly as envisioned in the Academic Strategic Plan.”

The university also will align the new residential colleges with its recently announced sustainability goal. The three new buildings will be constructed to achieve LEED Gold status, similar to Vanderbilt’s Engineering and Science Building and Eskind Biomedical Library.

“This implosion is truly a historic moment for our campus,” said Eric Kopstain, vice chancellor for administration. “It will allow us to accelerate the demolition of a major structure while a majority of students are away for the summer, minimizing disruptions to campus life.

“FutureVU has really allowed us to take a deeper look at how we are using our land and what we can be doing for the people who live, learn and work on it,” he said. “The new residential colleges, as well as the entire transformation of the West End Neighborhood, will support our current community as well as future generations.”

The implosion event will necessitate temporary road closures the morning of July 27. University and Nashville police will be on site, and a blast perimeter will be established, to keep the public at a safe distance. Occupants of buildings within close proximity to the implosion will be evacuated or mandated to remain indoors. Once the implosion and checks to the site and surrounding areas are complete, traffic will reopen and mandatory restrictions will be lifted.

“Safety is absolutely paramount,” Kopstain said. “We have been working with our partners at Layton, CDI and VUPS, as well as emergency responders, to ensure that the well-being of the community remains our No. 1 priority.”

Located on West End Avenue between 24th and 25th avenues, Carmichael Towers 3 and 4 have been home to tens of thousands of students since their opening in 1970. Named in memory of the university’s third Chancellor, Oliver Cromwell Carmichael, the residence halls served undergraduate students.

Prior to the July 27 implosion, Carmichael Tower 4 served as the site for a unique training exercise for more than 800 Nashville firefighters. The Carmichael Towers East complex on West End Avenue will remain open to residents through the 2019-20 academic year.

For more information about construction in the West End Neighborhood, visit the FutureVU website or Laytonconstruction.com/Vanderbilt.

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