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Demolishing Eastern Hall means recycling on a grand scale

Published on March 28, 2024

Demolishing Eastern Hall means recycling on a grand scale

Eastern Hall demolition

Recycling cardboard, paper and plastic has become a weekly routine for many households, but Eastern Connecticut State University is taking sustainability a step further by recycling a building as part of its demolition.

Eastern Hall, built around the year 2000 as a temporary classroom/office building next to Eastern’s library, will have its bits and pieces recovered, re-used and recycled to make way for a new green space. The demolition is underway, and by late May, the building’s former footprint will be replaced with sod, shade trees and native plantings.

The building was in use as late as the fall 2023 semester, said James Fielding, coordinator of University construction. After it was decommissioned, its utilities were cut off. Some of the older-style furniture that is no longer used on campus was donated to the National Guard, said Nancy Harper, maintenance supervisor. Furniture was also donated to Eastern’s new Thrift Warriors shop and some 30 to 40 percent was repurposed on campus. Metal furnishings were recycled at Willimantic Waste.

As the building comes down, construction waste materials will be processed for their recycling content at F & G Recycling in East Windsor, CT, under a contract with USA Waste and Recycling. About 65% of the sheetrock and carpeting will be recovered for re-use, Fielding said. USA will also handle general debris disposal for the project through its Hartford waste recycling center. Concrete and masonry will be hauled off and recycled, ultimately going to Windham Materials in Windham, and mixed metals will go to G & S Scrap Metal in South Windsor. The final destinations for all materials could vary depending on rates.

Materials that cannot be recycled, such as some of the sheetrock, carpeting and insulation, will go to a landfill, Fielding said.

Before the demolition began, trace amounts of asbestos were found in the adhesive used in the seams of the building’s flat roof. This was remediated by an abatement contractor.

Once everything is hauled away, planting can begin. Native highbush blueberry shrubs and deciduous sweetgum trees will be planted, along with some non-native species. The plantings will screen the area from the adjacent library parking stalls.

The road leading up from Windham Street to the library, Clocktower Road, will be repaved. The total cost of the project, including roadwork and landscaping, will be $426,400, Fielding said. It is scheduled for completion before Eastern’s summer programs and tours begin.

The energy savings from removing Eastern Hall from service will be an average of 166,500 kWh annually, said Patricia Szczys, director of Eastern’s Institute for Sustainability.

Written by Lucinda Weiss