The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

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LaGrange demolition makes way for new housing

Whitney Veazey

The University of North Alabama has begun the demolition of LaGrange Hall, a historic campus building.

LaGrange dormitory has an expansive history, with its construction dating back to when UNA was still known as Florence State College. The dormitory takes its name from LaGrange College, a Methodist-founded higher education institution that made its way to Florence in 1854. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the building’s cumulation of many years of service would indicate a need for remodel. 

The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the start of the remodel. Due to concerns of toxic mold, the university reconsidered remodeling and decided in favor of tearing the building down and erecting a new one in its place. 

Discussions about the use of LaGrange’s site initially focused on the possibility of building new dorms for the Delores and Weldon Cole Honors College. However, due to the honors college’s recent occupancy of Colby Hall and continued record-breaking enrollment for all students, the university felt that there was a more proper use of the space.

“A single-purpose dorm was once part of the discussion, [but] I believe the new building will be open to all students and won’t be focused on a single student population,” Dr. Vincent Brewton, dean of the Honors College, said.

The new dorm’s construction is expected to cost about $23.9 million, per the UNA Board of Trustees’ statement to The TimesDaily. It will serve to better accommodate the university’s enrollment of more than 10,000 students as of the spring semester.

The demolition and construction of the new dorms will not be done instantaneously, leading to possible inconveniences for those on campus. Fences have been put up around the perimeter of LaGrange and the skybridge, which connects the other dormitories to the rest of campus. Students who used the skybridge as their primary route to class or other campus buildings have had to find alternate routes, potentially causing delays.

“I usually take the bridge when I come back to the dorms after work, but now I have to walk all the way around,” first-year student Bonnie McNeese said.

To make students aware of other options to navigate campus without the skybridge, UNA’s Department of Facilities, Administration and Planning posted signs that emphasize the use of routes through the parking deck, across the Pine St. bridge, and via Circular Road.

Despite the inconveniences associated with the demolition, the university community is in favor of more housing and the growth this addition will provide for UNA.

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