When is the implosion?

Iowa State plans to implode Knapp Hall and Storms Hall on July 19 at approximately 10 a.m. The exact date is subject to change by the contractor. You will receive updates from ISU News Service.

You may also check for updates online at: and

How can the public view the implosion?

On television, online (via a delayed video stream on the ISU web site), or in person.

ISU does not encourage spectators at the demolition site, but we know that implosions are not everyday events, and many people will want to watch. Interest in the Knapp-Storms implosion is especially high because these two residence halls have been "home" to approximately 42,000 occupants since 1966.

The public will be allowed to view the implosion a safe distance away from the site -- either to the east or west of the Towers, depending on weather conditions and wind.

Where can the general public park?

Spectators may park at the Iowa State Center lots. There will be NO PARKING near the viewing area, and traffic will be restricted throughout the Campustown area. Hayward Avenue will be closed between Mortensen Road and Knapp Street; Welch Avenue will be closed south of Knapp Street; Stanton Avenue will be closed south of Baker Street; Lynn Avenue will be closed south of Baker Street; and Storm and Donald streets will be closed west of Ash Avenue.

Why are these buildings being demolished?

Both buildings have significant deferred maintenance, including irreparable facade damage. Storms closed in 2003 and Knapp closed in 2004. They are two of four residence halls in the Towers neighborhood on the ISU campus. Wallace and Wilson halls and the Knapp-Storms commons area will remain.

What is being done to prepare the buildings for implosion?

  • All furnishings, tile, plaster, doors, fixtures, carpeting, lights, smoke detectors, pipes and electrical wiring have been removed. Essentially, the buildings are concrete "shells."
  • Key structural supports are being exposed and interior walls are being removed.
  • More than 1,000 small holes are being drilled at specific locations. Explosives will be placed inside the holes and equipped with internal, non-electric timing devices that will fire on cue. Once these "charges" have been placed, they will be covered to prevent flying debris.
  • Explosives will be brought on site 48 to 72 hours before the event. Once the explosives are on site, Iowa State University Police and the Ames Police Department will secure the site.
  • Final wiring will occur the morning of the implosion.

What's the implosion plan?

The towers will implode almost simultaneously. There will be a planned, slight delay between the implosion of the first tower and the second. The implosion will cause the interior structure of each tower to rotate outward and away from the commons food service facility between the two towers. Knapp Hall will collapse to the east and Storms Hall will collapse to the west.

How long will the implosion take?

Less than 60 seconds.

What will it cost?

Key components of the project break down as follows (all figures are approximate):

  • Removal of furnishings: $35,000
  • Hazardous material abatement: $1 million
  • Demolition, hauling and site grading: $1.475 million
  • Replacement of boilers and piping in the commons: $440,000

What will be left after the implosion?

A pile of rubble approximately 40 feet tall will remain for each tower. The contractor immediately will begin to remove the debris, a process that is expected to last for five weeks. Most of the demolition debris will be concrete, which the university will store and later crush into gravel to be used as base material in driveways and parking areas at the new dairy facility south of Ames. The remaining demolition debris belongs to the contractor, who typically recycles eligible materials and landfills what's left.

What's the plan for the building site?

The site will be returned to green space, including grass, trees and additional sidewalks to provide access to the food service facility in the Knapp-Storms commons.

Are the Towers the tallest buildings in Ames?

Almost. The tallest building in Ames is an apartment building at 119 Stanton that stands 131.4 feet. The Towers buildings are the tallest on campus, at 129 feet.

Who is the contractor?

The general contractor is Peterson Contractors Inc., of Reinbeck, Iowa. The implosion subcontractor for the project is Controlled Demolition, Inc., of Phoenix, Maryland.