University of Alabama: Tutwiler Hall Abatement and Demolition

D.H. Griffin Wrecking Company began discussions with the University of Alabama for the demolition of the Tutwiler Hall dormitory after successfully imploding its sister dorm, Rose Towers, on July 4, 2012. The Tutwiler was a 13-story, 270,000-square-foot concrete women’s residence hall on the campus of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It was built in 1966 to house freshmen female students, as it did until 2022. Over the years, it also housed many different summer camp students, not leaving much unoccupied time for the university to make upgrades. Being the successful low bidder on the Tutwiler project, DHG immediately began discussions with the University of Alabama on planning for the set implosion date of July 4, 2022. Due to classes beginning in early August, the debris from this implosion would have to be removed by July 30.

Before preparing the building for implosion, DHG contracted Winter Environmental, a division of Winter Construction Company, to abate the building of asbestos. Before asbestos abatement could begin, DHG and Winter had to remove all furniture and trash left behind after 1,029 college students moved out. During the first three days on the site, 45 thirty cubic yard dumpers were filled with trash and debris from the building. Winter completed the asbestos abatement in 31 days with the help of up to 105 workers on the site, allowing preparation for the building implosion to start approximately two weeks after abatement began. DHG contracted Dykon Explosive as the blasting contractor for this project andthe guidance of their engineer Paul Rose, a plan was developed where five floors of the 13-story building would be completely stripped out and loaded with explosives. The construction of the Tutwiler dorm was concrete with six columns in the core and shear walls down each of the three wings of the building.. With the use of a crane to lift compact utility loaders to each of the four upper floors, DHG was able to remove sections of the shear walls, making columns that could be drilled and loaded with explosives.. With the help of Dykon, over 1,600 holes were drilled in the structure and 500 pounds of explosives were loaded for the implosion. Since the Tutwiler dorm is located near sorority houses, a new dorm, parking deck, private residences and a retail center, many protective measures had to be put into place. Approximately 750 feet of 30-foot high blast curtains were installed on three sides of Tutwiler Hall to prevent debris and dust from leaving the project site. HVAC units on the surrounding structures had to be shut down and covered with plastic to prevent them from dust intake. The protective measures all had to be installed on July 3 due to the high temperatures in Tuscaloosa during the month of July. At 7 a.m. on July 4, 2022, the Tutwiler dorm was successfully imploded. After initial inspection by DHG and Dykon, all-clear was given, and DHG crews immediately began removing all the protective measures that had been put in place and cleaning the surrounding streets so they could be reopened to the public. DHG began removing the concrete and debris from the site on July 5 and successfully removed 1,112 loads of rubble from the site in 10 days, totaling 32,100 tons of mostly concrete debris. Removal of foundations and other site improvements were successfully removed by July 30, allowing the site restoration contractor to begin their work on the project site. All concrete removed from the site was hauled to another location on the UA campus, where it is currently being crushed for re-use on the other campus projects. DHG has also recycled over 600 tons of metals from this project, resulting in 97% of the construction and demolition debris from this project being diverted from disposal in a landfill.

- Content adapted from Demolition Magazine

Project Statistics

  • 13 story
  • 270,000- square-foot
  • 56-year-old building'
  • 31 days of asbestos abatement
  • 600 tons of metals recycled
  • 32,100 tons of concrete debris removed
  • 1,029 college students housed
  • 1,600 holes were drilled for explosives
  • 500 pounds of explosives used

University of Alabama-Tutwiler Hall Implosion Video