Jones Hall demolition brings back memories for former residents

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COLUMBIA - The skyline at MU will soon look dramatically different.

Construction crews started demolition of Jones Residence Hall on Monday as part of a $71 million renovation plan.

The Dobbs Replacement Project will also include two new residence halls and a dining hall.

The University of Missouri Board of Curators approved the first phase of the plan in June of 2014. The all girls residence hall was built in 1957. 

Lathrop, Laws and Jones residence halls received renovations in 2002. Those renovations addressed water leakage problems and also added air-conditioning units to the windows.

The project is also a reaction to the increase in enrollment.

Once the project is completed, the Dobbs group will house 1,269 beds by 2020. The upgraded dining hall will seat 750 people, which more than doubles what the current dining hall seats now.

Foreman Aaron Dehn said once they checked for asbestos and cleaned up the trash, they started demolition of the building.

"We've got challenges. We've got pedestrians around and we got a building going up behind it, but no challenge that we can't overcome," said Dehn.

Former Jones resident Madeline Kane said the friendships and memories made in Jones will never be duplicated.

"Jones is definitely the best. Everyone always came to my room. I don't think Jones will ever be replaced," said Kane.

Kari Dowell lived in Jones in 1995. She now lives in Columbia and works as a marketing director for an accountant firm. She remembers watching the MU football games from her seventh floor room with her roommate, who she still keeps in touch with.

"Some of the other women I met, I still keep in touch with them today, almost twenty years later. Some of them were in my wedding. I'm very close friends with them," said Dowell.

Dowell said she's going to miss seeing the Jones structure in the campus skyline when she drives down Stadium Blvd.

The first residence hall of the project is tentatively scheduled to open in the fall of 2016 and the second residence and dining hall will open in the fall of 2017.

[Editor's note: This article has been edited for clarity.]