Wilkinson Hall crumbles with Nair Hall soon to follow

With the Suites on Main now housing students on the Clarion University campus, the faculty decided it was time to tear down two old dormitories. (By Eric Zavinski)

CLARION – Wilkinson Hall at Clarion University is being torn down with its neighbor Nair Hall soon to follow.

With the Suites on Main now housing students on the Clarion University campus, the faculty decided it was time to tear down two old dormitories.

Demolition professionals have been chipping away at Wilkinson for more than a week now, and Nair is set to fall in the next few weeks. The decision to tear these buildings down came after a cost-benefit analysis on behalf of the university where it was decided it would be more efficient to demolish the halls rather than replace fixtures that needed an update.

“The buildings were in need of a complete replacement of the heating system as well as many other updates to utilities,” said Clarion University director of auxiliary operations G. Chad Thomas.

Both halls were in need of new roofs and did not fit the more modern atmosphere that the university has been aiming for of late with their student housing accommodations.

Thomas reported that “[older] community restrooms and shower facilities and the lack of quality study/lounge space were also concerns.”

In order to make room for Nair’s removal, Wilkinson is being destroyed first. The standard demolition process includes removing all furniture and other items from the buildings, cutting utilities and then scraping at and wrecking the walls until only scrap remains.

Then, metal debris is removed for recycling. The leftover brick and concrete will be crushed and used as material to pave the new parking lots that will take the spaces of the departed Wilkinson and Nair halls.

Their removal will benefit the university in a variety of ways from updating the campus look to saving money on repairs for outdated utilities. However, that does not mean the halls will not be missed.

Nick Rhoades, a senior and soon-to-be graduate of Clarion, remembers the halls fondly as a resident in one of Wilkinson’s last years standing.

“I think the demolition of Wilkinson and Nair halls is sad, because Wilkinson was my first home away from home. But, I understand that the change is necessary,” said Rhoades.

A group that includes nine of Rhoades’ friends is still together today after having met each other in the traditional-style dormitory.

Rhoades said, “I know we’ll keep in touch, and I don’t think that could be possible without the benefits of living so close to each other in the traditional dorms.”

The secondary education in math and social studies major also enjoyed living in rooms that were occupied by previous generations of students.

“Living there also made me reflect on those who lived there before me and how college life was ten, twenty, or even forty years ago,” said Rhoades.

Wilkinson and Nair Hall stood for 45 years as college dorms.