By Regine Schlesinger

CHICAGO (CBS) — Crews have begun a brick-by-brick demolition of a dormitory that served as a college home to generations of Illinois students.

Northern Illinois University spokesman Paul Palian said the school wanted to create a more accessible route across the main drag on campus, Lucinda Avenue. So it’s demolishing Douglas Hall, which was named for Abraham Lincoln political rival Stephen A. Douglas.

“There was one thing standing in the way, and that was Douglas Hall,” Palian said.

Douglas Hall housed students for 51 years, until last spring.

“Douglas Hall was a residence hall that, in recent years, hadn’t had nearly full capacity,” Palian said.

Palian said it has been bittersweet for many alumni who have fond memories of living there. As a resident during his college days, he knows how they feel.

“That building has a special place for me as well,” he said.

You can watch what the school calls the “deconstruction” of the dorm building via a live webcam.

All of the materials from the building will be recycled for other campus construction, so Palian said – in a way – it’s as though Douglas Hall will live on.

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