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It served its original purpose and more. The building most recently known as The Distance Ed Building came crashing down in a matter of hours, as a demolition crew that could be heard across campus smashed the ceilings and the walls bit by bit, being careful not to damage Shortess Chapel right next door.
The building housed the original cafeteria, but was also more recently the home of the Business Office and the Copy Center. It served a variety of purposes over the years, as well.
A few longtime staff members stood by and watched the demolition, sharing memories of the building and noting its versatility over the last 40-plus years. Tammy Tumey, who works in the Registrar’s Office, remembers the building having a loading dock where goods were delivered for a campus community co-op.
“No matter the weather once a month I spent a Thursday night with a crew of others bagging each order,” Tumey recalled. “It was a great place for staff and student families to get to know each other.”
David Morrison, the former general manager of CIU radio station WMHK, says when he first came to Columbia in 1975, one of the CIU fringe benefits was a quart of fresh Tropicana orange juice for each member of the CIU family each week – a gift from Anthony Rossi, the owner of Tropicana.
“The Tropicana truck unloaded the orange juice each week into the refrigerated food locker, the only surviving part of the original campus cafeteria, which sat where the Extension Education wing was later placed,” Morrison remembered. “I still have Tropicana cartons storing various items in my garage at home.”
Long-term campus improvement plans for the now-vacant spot include possible classroom and/or office space.