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UM moves ahead on North Hall demolition

Detroit News staff and wire reports

Ann Arbor – — The University of Michigan is moving forward on plans to demolish the second-oldest building on campus, North Hall, to make way for a $261 million science building.

The Board of Regents plans to vote Thursday on the $9 million demolition of North Hall and the Museums Annex. Last year, officials said the 48,500-square-foot facility would cost too much to repair.

The building was decommissioned at a ceremony in July. Built between 1899 and 1900, it had housed ROTC programs since 1940.

In February, the Regents approved the new Biological Science Building project. The College of Literature, Science, and the Arts proposed building a teaching, research and museum facility for the biological sciences and some campus museums.

The Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology are in the Edward Henry Kraus Building, which was built in 1915.

The Kraus center “has reached its limit in terms of ability to allow contemporary research and the number of researchers it can support,” says a document about the project.

The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology also has space in the Alexander G. Ruthven Museums Building, which “has even greater limitations ... and has very significant deferred maintenance needs.”

The Ruthven building also houses the Anthropology, Natural History, Paleontology and Zoology museums. The proposed demolition will make way for the 300,000-square-foot Biological Science Building, with a connection to the Life Sciences Institute Building.

Demolition is proposed to begin in January. Construction is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2018. Funding is expected to come from the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and the Office of the Provost.