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Crowder Hall demolition put on pause

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

The University of Missouri has decided to delay the demolition of Crowder Hall, a building that has been on campus for more than 80 years.

Crowder Hall is MU's Military Science Department and ROTC building.

The winter season being just around the corner is the reason for the pause.

"We're coming up on winter which isn't a good time for construction," MU spokesman Christian Basi said. "We can now pause and have officials assess the proper course of action when it comes to not only Crowder Hall, but other buildings as well."

Many MU alumni started their military career in the Armed Forces at Crowder Hall, which is base operations for the Regional Officers' Training Corps.

The university is in the second phase of its space reduction and strategic relocation plan, which involves demolishing certain buildings on campus to build new ones or free up space.

Just because there has been a pause in demolition plans does not mean the project has been abandoned.

"We have had a lot of alumni outreach about Crowder Hall," Basi said. "But I would like to stress that is not the reason behind us pausing the construction and demolition."

Constructing newer buildings would save money on things like maintenance costs and utilities. According to an MU spokesman, a to-do list has grown over the years in order to maintain these buildings.

Other buildings -- in addition to Crowder Hall -- include Manor House, Neff Annex, Mizzou North and the Laboratory Animal Center.

"We're at a good spot with the demolitions coming up and the time of year to take a breather," Basi said. "It's not about one particular building, but the plan as a whole."

According to Basi, 316,000 square feet of campus space have been made available do to the recent demolitions. Along with the physical space being freed up, money is being saved.

"Seventy-three million dollars in deferred maintenance has been cut, and we have saved $2.3 million of annual operating costs," Basi said.

Basi cited the school's response to the COVID-19 pandemic as a way MU realized that there isn't a need for all these buildings.

"We don't need to have as many people in the buildings as we had in the past," Basi said. "Technology proved that. We still have people who elect to work remotely."

This is when the space-reduction plan was brought into fruition. The plan reduces the amount of money the university spends every year on bills, as well as building upkeep.

"We're able to take money we are saving and put it back into the university's main missions of education and research," he said. "Of course, also state outreach."

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Ethan Heinz

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