Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Destruction of Palmer Hall

Palmer in August 2016

Palmer Hall is no more. Just over a year ago, in June 2015, we packed up, and moved our stuff out of the old Palmer building. We commenced teaching art classes in the new Palmer Martin building on the south side of the Yakima Valley College campus in Fall 2015. 

Palmer in June 2016

In June of 2016, the building was fenced off so that the demolition process could begin. The progress was slow because there were some less visible parts of the process that needed to be completed first. There were some things related to water and power that needed to be rerouted or adjusted before demolition.
view from the west side of the clay studio kiln yard

Someone I know who has no official capacity told me that the building also had ash from Mount Saint Helens inside the roof space, leftover from when it was remodeled. This is an excellent story, though I can't guarantee it is completely true.

view of the clay studio sans kiln yard in July 2016

The art department had been in the building since before I came to campus in 2006, but I believe it had been the art building for closer to 20 years. Before that, it was the library, but I'm not sure how old that building was. It wouldn't be difficult to check my facts, but instead I'm going to post demolition pictures.

the clock tower overlooks the half-demolished clay studio (you can still see the louver that used to be next to the kilns)

The demolition this summer started with the roof the wall of the kiln yard, but wasn't very far along when I was on campus in July. This week I happened to be on campus on Thursday and as I was driving past, I noticed that the building was smaller than it had been. I had some time, so I stopped by.

It was fun to watch the very precise movements of the machinery smashing, pulling, and cleaning up the space. It used an I-beam to sweep the ground as it moved around the building.

My daughter and I watched the demolition for about an hour. It's usually fun to watch a demolition, but we happened to arrive exactly when the clay and design studios were being ripped and smashed. I could recognize the red wall of the clay studio, the metalsmithing cabinet, a terrible old chair that has been broken for years, and the metal shelf that used to provide space for soldering in metalsmithing class.

the grey object on the right is the metalsmithing shelf.
The building is now completely demolished, though obviously the pile of rubble remains. Once the rubble is gone, I believe the space will become a green gathering space in the middle of campus. At this rate, I'm guessing the space will be more or less ready by the time the quarter starts in September.

here is the wide open design studio and a view into the part-time office and the drawing/painting studio

I did manage to get a video of part of the demolition. The start isn't very exciting, but about 30 seconds in the machine breaks into the ceiling of the next segment of the building.

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