Here's a sampling of some of the reactions from social media after the Columbia Missourian posted its story on MU's plans to tear down Pickard Hall.
University officials have reluctantly decided that MU's third-oldest building, long contaminated by radioactive material from a lab there in the early 1900s, will be demolished. https://t.co/FXgiGgJlcn— Columbia Missourian (@CoMissourian) November 14, 2019
On the Missourian's Facebook post, reactions ranged from disquiet over potential radiation exposure (the university says levels are not dangerous) to frustration over MU's plan to destroy a number of campus buildings in the coming years.
Other users took to Twitter to express frustration over the university's handling of the project over the last decade. Associate professor and director of graduate studies for MU's religious studies department Rabia Gregory sharply criticized the way MU handled the relocation of the museum that Pickard used to house.
I am disappointed that Pickard Hall, which formerly housed the Museum of Art and Archaeology, will be demolished after years of standing empty and expensive on the quad, slowly emitting radiation. For decades, the building was used/ declared safe, then emptied in a rush >— Rabia Gregory (@RabiaGregory) November 14, 2019
I know faculty & staff who worked there for years, always reassured that it was safe. Some wore tags to track radiation exposure or were pregnant in that building. The entire process has been a mess. years of ignoring the problem, a rushed announcement of the Museum's relocation>— Rabia Gregory (@RabiaGregory) November 14, 2019
Another university employee, who worked and studied in Pickard, echoed Gregory's concerns.
I worked in Pickard Hall as a student and employee and was told that the radiation levels were safe (once I was told at all). Then, all of a sudden in 2012 or 2013, campus admin said it wasn't. https://t.co/UnFSvJgF63— Kelli Hansen (@Bibliokelli) November 14, 2019
Some felt nostalgic about the 127-year-old building, the third-oldest structure on MU's campus.
"This is so sad," wrote user Valerie Hellinghausen on Facebook. "I’m glad I got to visit Pickard with my family while it was still housing the museum. Visiting the Caste Gallery was one of my favorite class trips with MU Honors Humanities."
I understand that Pickard Hall is radioactive and such, but I’m really going to miss it; I sat on those steps every day it was warm outside. The quad is going to lose one of its most beautiful buildings :(— HEATHER (@heyyyyyyther) November 14, 2019
Sad deal. I can’t count the number of times I passed this amazing old building. https://t.co/wx6nhjkqrs— Drew Stuart (@woodave41) November 14, 2019
For some, news of the demolition was the first they had heard of the building's persistent radiation problem.
So NOW I know why this building was always empty ... nice to find out after being near it for 4 years https://t.co/0lIR2qI5DG— Olivia DeSmit (@oliviad2150) November 14, 2019
Mixed feelings about this, honestly. I spent a lot of time sitting in the dark looking at art history slides in Pickard... but also "radioactive contamination." https://t.co/nAHE5WHBak— Danny Dougherty (@DannyDougherty) November 14, 2019
The gallows humor
Many chose to take the news in stride, making jokes about the neighboring School of Journalism and posting memes that exaggerated the extent of the building's radiation.
So this is how @Mizzou journalism kiddos are able to balance a million deadlines and a full class schedule at a same time? We were all, at some point in the past century, bitten by the radioactive spiders from next door? https://t.co/UH2wupXTrI— Nancy Coleman (@nancylcoleman) November 14, 2019
Mizzou students after spending four years walking past the radioactivity in Pickard Hall pic.twitter.com/CFHIPpoIoT— viv (@kolks_viv) November 14, 2019