Demolition of Gardner Hall will begin in the coming weeks to make way for a new residence hall that will continue the university’s Freshman Village concept.
The university’s Board of Trustees approved the plan to take town the 60 year-old Gardner during its August meeting; however, details about what will replace it have yet to be revealed.
“We are preparing the site to be able to become a construction site,” said Kevin Campbell, senior vice president for operations. “We will continue our conversations with the board in November and begin discussing construction time.”
Construction crews will start the abatement process starting the week of Labor Day, Campbell said. The process will take the months of September and October, and Gardner will be seen coming down in November.
The plan continues the university’s goal to make the south side of campus along East North 16th, the home for new male and female students, an area to be called the Freshman Village, and outfit residence halls elsewhere on campus for sophomores, juniors and seniors.
“We are super excited about the concept of the Freshman Village and that it will become a reality,” said Campbell. “The first big step of this was Bullock Hall opening this fall, and we are looking forward to keeping that momentum going.”
Gardner Hall has been a residence hall for women for the past 60 years. Despite the amount of memories made in this hall, the board has decided it had to be demolished to make room for the Freshman Village.
Furniture and decor already are being removed to prepare the dorm for demolition. Furniture will be reused and donated to local Abilene nonprofits.
“Some dorm furniture is older,” Campbell said. “So we are providing the newer furniture from Gardner into another residence hall. It will be a combination of reusing and donating to nonprofits.”
The focus now is finishing the designs for the Freshman Village, as well as the demolition of Gardner, he said. Sikes and Nelson, which eventually will be renovated, will compete the Freshman Village residence areas, and Sewell Auditorium will ultimately serve as a gathering space for students.
“Those buildings are in very good shape and are attractive buildings, and we would find ways to enhance these buildings,” Campbell said.
While Gardner’s demolition is not planned to be completed until the end of the semester, the plan is for the Freshman Village to fully open in the fall of 2030.