Burge Apartments to be demolished

With the increase in newer student housing, Burge Apartments have had little use over the last few years. As a result, Tech has decided to schedule the building for demotion.

Demolition on the complex will begin on Feb. 17 and is currently scheduled to last until Mar. 22. Facilities provided notice in June 2008, and held an open forum made available a month after to let people voice their concerns. Authorization from the governor formally arrived on Oct. 30, 2008.

“I think the process began in Nov. 2006, Tech had just completed the apartments on Tenth and Home and so the inventory they had for housing—the Burge —became surplus for a variety of reasons. One is security. I read some police reports and there were some problems. They had ledges where people could stand up on and break in and hold up people,” said David Bowman, project manager of the Burge demolition.

Bids from independent contractors were accepted on Nov. 12 with New York company Empire Dismantlement winning out with the lowest bid. They mobilized at the site on Jan. 25 and are currently removing all the asbestos present.

Initially, facilities and housing considered other alternative uses for the apartment complex. However due to the current structural problems of the apartments, all alternatives were deemed unfeasible.

“There were environmental studies, structural reports and other stuff done to see what we could use the building for other than housing, and see how much it would cost to renovate it, but the building itself was problematic to renovate. The floor height was such (8 [ft] by 8 [ft]) that by the time you put in all the modern systems, you would have a six foot ceiling and you can’t do that by code because the structure was so small so the only other option we had was to [demolish] the building,” Bowman said.

In addition, the building is divided into two separate halves, with no entry point between the two. One half had only one viable exit, which in conjunction with a lack of sprinklers system made it a fire hazard.

“Burge didn’t meet fire code regulation and it was pretty unsafe all around,” Bowman remarked.

Short term plans are to replant the area with grass but long term planning is still under way by Capital Management and Space Planning, with a new parking lot being a possibility.

The demolition itself will not occur in one instance. Instead, the month long process will involve Burge being stripped down brick by brick. Those bricks will be recycled into a current estimate of four pallets, and be used in new construction projects.