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Citadel News Service

August 8, 2001



CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The ground shook and there was a loud boom when at approximately 3:10 p.m. today, the tower of Padgett-Thomas Barracks was toppled.

Many of the spectators who came to watch the demolition had left before the tower fell over. Most thought it would take another day for demolition crews to break through the reinforced concrete columns that supported the structure.

Those who braved the sweltering heat for nearly two hours watched in awe as debris from the tower fell on top of the crane boom, causing the crane car to roll on its side. The crane operator was not injured.

This is the final stage in the demolition of The Citadel's Padgett-Thomas Barracks.

Demolition began May 24.

Padgett-Thomas Barracks, the oldest building on The Citadel campus, was razed to make way for a new dormitory and leadership learning laboratory for Citadel cadets. The barracks was the first building constructed in 1922 after the military college moved from Marion Square.

The barracks was closed in August 2000 because the aging building created a safety hazard for occupants. PT will be rebuilt and will look identical to the razed building.

The tower is the last piece of the barracks to be razed, in part because work crews had to disassemble a wooden water tank located in the upper reaches of the tower.

The tank provided water to the barracks' fire protection sprinkler system, but it has not been used for that purpose for many years.

In days gone by, cadets would sneak into the tower on a sultry summer night and take a swim in the tank, which has etched in its wooden planks and scribbled in ink the names of cadets who lived in Padgett-Thomas Barracks. Some names date back to 1922 when the barracks first opened.

The tank was disassembled and the 123 wooden planks will be preserved for future display.



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