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The University of Louisville Has Begun Taking Down the Silos

at Vendome Copper and Brass Works, in Louisville, Ky., on Tuesday, July 23, 2014. Photo by Eleanor Hasken
Eleanor Hasken
at Vendome Copper and Brass Works, in Louisville, Ky., on Tuesday, July 23, 2014. Photo by Eleanor Hasken

The silos along Interstate 65 have for years tipped off motorists that they were near the University of Louisville's Belknap campus. That ends very soon.The demolition of the silos began this week, said Mark Hebert, a university spokesman.The process of bringing down the 22 silos may take  several days to complete.The silos sit on a 15-acre site that the University of Louisville Foundation purchased late last year for $3.3 million. The university  immediately announced that the structures would be removed to make way for Belknap campus expansion.“They are a bit of an eyesore,” Hebert said in December.  He added they serve no practical purpose for the university’s master plan and administrators "really like the idea of having an open view" of the UofL campus from I-65.For the immediate future, the spot will be a gravel parking lot.Hebert said the entire project of demolishing the existing structures, salvaging recyclable material and spreading gravel over the site may take until October to complete.The proceeds from the selling of salvageable material will be enough to offset much of the cost of the demolition, Hebert said."It could cover two-thirds to the entire cost of the operation," he added.Calls from "all over the place" came in requesting to purchase equipment and material that will be salvaged from the property, Hebert said.University officials are still looking at what long-term role the property be used for, Hebert said. "It could be another athletic building, an athletic field, an academic building, a green space," he said.  "We just haven't got any clear ideas of what that space could be."The company awarded the bid for the demolition project is LVI/NCM, also known as NorthStar Group Holdings LLC.  They were among eight demolition firms to submit a bid for the project. The cost of the demolition will be $687,800 and will be funded by the UofL Foundation, according to a statement released by the university.  The site's proximity to I-65 prevented an implosion, Hebert said, but the process is not expected to hinder interstate traffic.

Jacob Ryan joined LPM in 2014. Ryan is originally from Eddyville, Kentucky. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.