WATCH: Old Georgia archives building imploded

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WATCH: Old Georgia archives building imploded

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KENT D. JOHNSON / AJC/ KDJOHNSON@AJC.COM
Demolition crews brought down the old state archives building in a controlled implosion shortly after 7 am Sunday, March 5, 2017. The 14-story state archives building was about 50 years old and was imploded to make way for a new state courts building. Gov. Deal has budgeted about $105 million in next year's budget for the new state courts building. Kent D. Johnson/AJC

The state imploded the old Georgia Archives building in the shadow of the Capitol early this morning, and Gov. Nathan Deal was there to watch.

The old archives building, nicknamed the White Ice Cube, will make way for a state courts building. Deal has included $105 million to build the new facility in his budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year, a measure that has already passed the state House.

Preparation for the implosion began at about 4 a.m. 

Warning signals sounded at about 6:45, Deal spoke in a parking lot behind Liberty Plaza, and 5-year-old Devin Simmons, a Children’s Health Care of Atlanta patient with sickle cell anemia, pulled the plunger to cue the implosion. Explosions rang out at about 7:05 a.m. and the building collapsed in a cloud of dust and debris shortly after.

The old archives was built in 1965 on Capitol Avenue. About three decades after it opened, engineers determined that it was sinking due to groundwater and nearby interstate construction. Estimates to repair and refurbish the archives hit $40 million.

Instead of spending the money, a new archives facility was built near Clayton State University, and the old archives building has been used as a movie set on and off for years.

Governors have sought to tear down it down since the move. But lawmakers have been skeptical about spending money on the project.

Last year they approved a state budget that included Deal’s proposal to borrow $6.5 million for design and site preparation for the new judicial complex.

Watch: Preparation for the implosion

Crews are preparing to demolish the building this weekend.
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