Plan for Cather, Pound moves ahead

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Plan for Cather, Pound moves ahead

The Board of Regents on Nov. 18 approved a funding request for the demolition of Cather Hall, Pound Hall and the Cather-Pound Dining Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The estimated $7.3 million from bond surplus funds will pay for the razing of the three buildings, which were built in 1963. Work will begin in May 2017, with a goal of being completed by November 2018. Regents voted unanimously to approve funding for the plan.

Cather and Pound are 13-story towers along North 17th Street, with the two-story dining center in the middle connecting the towers. Together, the three buildings make up about 245,000 gross square feet.

In 2010, an independent study of Cather and Pound identified life safety, building code and exterior façade deficiencies, and that renovation of the buildings was not recommended because of extremely high cost. A November 2014 study showed that bringing Pound Hall up to current code and to meet Board of Regents building requirements put in place in 2007 would cost $22.7 million. Although the residential rooms have been fire-sprinkled, the corridors and some other areas have not been sprinkled, as required by Board of Regents policies.

In addition, since 2013 the university has opened two new suite-style halls – University Suites and Eastside Suites – as replacements for Cather and Pound.

The university also is building a new dining complex just east of the existing Cather/Pound complex to replace the to-be-demolished dining center between the two towers. That new center should open and be operational in summer 2017.

Cather was originally scheduled to be taken offline in 2013, but remained open an additional year to accommodate larger-than-expected demand for on-campus housing. Pound Hall’s lifespan has been extended two additional years, housing several hundred freshman and upperclass students in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years.

Two methods of demolition will be used to complete the demolition project, officials said. The dining center will be demolished first using heavy equipment to dismantle the building. Cather and Pound will then be demolished by implosion, which has been recommended because of the difficulty and extended duration of demolition of debris removal that would occur if heavy equipment were used to bring down the towers.

Demolition of the dining center is expected to begin during the December 2017 winter break to minimize disruption to students. The two towers are tentatively slated to be imploded in May 2018.

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