And it all falls down: Tutwiler’s demolition the end of an era

By WVUA 23 News Reporter Asher Redd

What does it take to send a 54-year-old, 13-story building sky-high? For the University of Alabama’s Tutwiler Hall, the answer is about 675 pounds of dynamite.

The women’s dorm, which opened in 1968, was home to more than 50,000 women attending UA through the spring of 2022. As one of the older dorms on campus, it came with plenty of complaints including mold and a lack of personal bathrooms.

So UA is blowing it up and freshman women will soon be calling a brand-new Tutwiler home.

Before that happens, the old one will be reduced to rubble, and the person leading the job is Implosion Project Manager Brad Douglas.

To ensure the building comes down nice and neat, Douglas and his team drilled more than 2,000 holes into the structure of the building. Those holes ensure the blast stays where he wants it and the building falls on top of itself instead of toppling over.

Only five of the 13 floors are being lined with dynamite, he said.

“We actually got started on May 16, so we’ve had roughly 45 days to prepare for this,” Douglas said. “So it’s a very quick process.”

Of course, safety is the team’s biggest priority.

The building’s columns have been wrapped in three layers of chain-link fence with an additional layer of geo-technical fabric to keep stray particles as contained as possible.

But the person who’s doing the detonation honors is actually a former tennant.

Suzy Curtis Sanders lived in Tutwiler in 1982 as a college freshman. Forty years later, she’s pressing the button and bringing it to the ground.

“It had been there so long and it was just an iconic building on campus, and it’s been there since 1968 and it just seemed like a fun opportunity,” said Sanders.

Sanders won the right thanks to a UA auction. Proceeds from that auction are going toward student scholarships.

There’s still time to own a part of Tutwiler, too. Check here for more information.

Categories: Local News