Archive for June, 2003

Streaming video of Eliot implosion now available

Saturday, June 21st, 2003 | Bernell Dorrough

To watch a streaming media clip of the implosion of Eliot, just click here. This stream is being hosted by the Washington University Archives.

Unfortunately, a downloadable Quicktime movie of the implosion will not be available. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Check back soon for the new look of

Saturday, June 21st, 2003 | Bernell Dorrough

Check back with in coming weeks to see a preview of our new layout. We have designed the new with our readers in mind, aiming to make it more modern, feature-rich, and most importantly, easy to use.

We want the new to be the best site it can be for our readers, so please e-mail us with feedback. You can also discuss what you think in our forums.

E-mail Senior Online Editor Bernell Dorrough at [email protected].

Come back Monday for a Quicktime movie of Eliot’s collapse!

Saturday, June 21st, 2003 | Bernell Dorrough

On Monday, will offer a high quality video clip of Eliot’s demolition Saturday morning.

The video will be in Apple Quicktime format. To download the Quicktime Player visit

For now, enjoy Student Life’s photo gallery of the collapse by clicking here.

Demolished! Eliot comes down as hundreds watch

Saturday, June 21st, 2003 | Bernell Dorrough
Jonah Weiss/Student Life

To watch a streaming media clip of the implosion click here.

Eliot Residence Hall came down in a near flawless demolition Saturday morning as hundreds of students, faculty, and neighborhood residents watched. Washington University administrators removed the 38-year-old tower to make room for new student housing next to Nemerov Residence Hall.

For some former residents of Eliot, watching the high-rise collapse was like losing an old friend.

“It was my freshman dorm, and contrary to popular belief, I actually loved living in Eliot,” said upcoming senior Crystal Moten. “And even though it was tall and big and sometimes the elevators were broken, I didn’t mind walking up the 11 flights of stairs because I loved it so much. It brings back fond memories, and I’m so sad to see it go.”

However, other students were excited to see Eliot destroyed to make way for newer dorms. For years, many students had regarded the tower as the worst place to live on campus.

“Initially, I’ll be honest – I was a hater. I did not want to live there freshman year,” said upcoming senior Erynn Elleby. “But, I had two really good friends who lived there my freshman year, and they showed me all the little intricacies that were hidden treasures, like the window seats. It’s not as bad. I liked visiting it, but I still wouldn’t want to live there.”

Spirtas Wrecking Company oversaw the destruction of the 12-story, 73,000-square-foot high rise. By imploding Eliot with explosives, its demolition took mere seconds. When Eliot’s twin tower Shepley Hall was demolished with a wrecking ball several years ago, the same amount of work took weeks.

“Some other contractor was awarded that contract (for Shepley’s demolition). It took them about four months to ball that thing and get it out of here,” explained Eric Spirtas, the company’s president. “That process had a lot of dust day in, day out, and Saturday work on and on. One Saturday here and boom, we blow it down, and we’re out of the way. Now, it’s just hauling it off.”

Dykon Blasting Corp. set the explosive sequences that imploded Eliot into itself. Dykon and Spirtas used around 200 pounds of dynamite for the implosion. As planned, Eliot fell slightly to the west, landing largely on top of itself.

Crews will now spend several weeks breaking up what is left of Eliot into rubble and hauling it away. Dean of Student Affairs Justin Carroll said they will have removed most, if not all, of the rubble by the start of the fall semester.

Steve Rackers, the manager of capital project and records at WU, pressed the button to begin the sequence.

“Well, pressing the button is only an ending to a lot of effort that a lot of people have put in,” said Rackers. “I guess it’s kind of monumental. The last one we took down took over three months, and to see this one come down all in a matter of seconds was pretty impressive.”

Rackers was also impressed by how problem-free the demolition was. He said that according to his preliminary reports, there were not even any broken windows caused by the blast.

The new residence hall to be built on the location of Eliot will also be called Eliot after one of the co-founders of WU. The four-story building will have 53,500 square feet and include 85 double bedrooms for freshmen. It will have several activity areas and study rooms and should be ready for the fall 2004 semester. The new residence hall will be the eighth new building added to the South 40 since 1998.

Residential Life had originally planned to demolish Eliot a few years ago, but it postponed the project because of rising numbers of students who wanted to live on the South 40.

“We postponed removing Eliot for three years… We did this because we saw a slight increase in both the undergraduate enrollment and a significant increase in the number of undergraduates desiring to remain living on campus. Both of these factors were wonderful ‘problems’ to have,” said Carroll. “I am pleased that so many students want to attend WU and that more of them want to live in University housing longer.”

While Carroll said that Eliot simply no longer met the requirements of today’s students, he noted that the tower played a major role in the lives of many WU students over the years.

“It has been a wonderful residence for students for many years. Those who have resided there can tell you how important that community was to them,” said Carroll. “Why I know two of our alums who are married to each other, and they first met each other living in Eliot their freshman year. The middle name of their second son is ‘Eliot.'”

New Design

Saturday, June 21st, 2003 | Bernell Dorrough

Here are the two new designs we’re considering for

Version One

Version Two

The body (stories, menu bars, etc.) of the second design have not been updated recently, so please judge it soley by its masthead. If we decide to go with that design, we will update the other elements later.

Also keep in mind that like the new layouts for Student Life, these are not yet finished.

Please e-mail your thoughts and suggestions to Bernie at [email protected]

New Student Life Design

Saturday, June 21st, 2003 | Bernell Dorrough
Bernell Dorrough

Click on the links to the right to download the new Student Life layout. Please keep in mind that these are incomplete and still being finalized.

These are PDF documents, which require the Adobe PDF Reader.

Please e-mail Jon with suggestions (and compliments) at [email protected]