In 1967 Indiana State University built the Statesman Towers, twin buildings that scrape the sky at 15 stories as residence halls.
“By the late 1970s, enrollment at the university had declined and the buildings were no longer needed for student housing,” said Dave Taylor, ISU director of media relations. “However, facilities were needed for the then schools of business and education.” By the time the 1980s rolled around, the towers had a new purpose — serving as classrooms for business and education majors.
As the buildings continued to tack on years and gain more maintenance problems, the relocation of both colleges was set in motion. In 2010, these programs, Scott College of Business and Bayh College of Education, found new homes. With no idea how to use the towers in the future, the board decided that demolition was the best option.
Progress seemed smooth until a private developer came forward with a proposal for Indiana State University, asking to buy the towers to renovate them for apartments. ISU would then forfeit any rights to the property.
However, a few unexpected residents moved into the towers.
Everybody grab your birdfeeders, because with further investigation, three falcons were found at the roof of one of the towers. These falcons were the first to hatch in 50 or 60 years in the Wabash Valley area. In mid-20th century, the peregrine falcons vanished from most of North America. Less than 50 years ago, nests along the Mississippi River disappeared. It is thought that the decline in population was due to the use of DDT pesticide. Should demolition continue with the Statesman Towers, a nesting box will be placed on another tall building on campus with hopes that the falcons will relocate.
Since the cost of renovating the towers for student residence was deemed too expensive, ISU decided to build Reeves Hall. ISU also partnered with Thompson Thrift Development on the construction of on-campus housing in a combined retail/housing complex on Wabash Avenue.
For now, the towers remain standing and the falcons get to keep their home.