Demolition of tornado-ravaged Merrill Hall underway at JSU

Published: Jul. 29, 2019 at 7:08 PM CDT
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JACKSONVILLE, Ala. (WBRC) - Demolition has begun on tornado-ravaged Merrill Hall at Jacksonville State University.

The former home of JSU’s school of business and finance was hit especially hard by the tornado that touched down in Jacksonville March 19th of last year.

Earlier this month, JSU's board of trustees approved a new building for the business school, which is now housed at the former Kitty Stone Elementary School.

Dr. John Beehler, the University President, says the day was bittersweet, as the school was getting rid of its most visual reminder of the tornado, and the damage it left behind.

Merrill Hall is located directly on Highway 21.

"I think people drive around here and they see this, and it really brings back some bad memories of the tornado," Beehler told reporters shortly after a short ceremony. "And the other thing is, we've been in rebuilding mode for quite a while now. And this is very symbolic of the building effort, because this building is going to be replaced by a new, state of the art business building. And it's going to be bigger and better than ever."

SGA President Ulysses Herrera is himself a business major and recalled fond memories of classroom lectures as well as the finance lab, installed less than a year before the tornado struck.

“When you get here, into that bowtie-shaped building, you’re going to feel so professional, and so well prepared, and all this other stuff,” said Herrera.

Herrera remembered being told about Merrill Hall, "and it has done this for me."

The demolition of Merrill Hall is expected to take three months.

There’s no word on when the demolition of the Lurleen Wallace Nursing Building is to take place.

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