DURHAM — The ill-famed "Duke Lacrosse House" is on its way to the dump.
A demolition crew began tearing down the Duke University-owned house at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. about 7:30 this morning. By 11:15, it had been reduced to rubble and an excavator was loading the debris into a removal truck.
"Tearing it down was no problem," said Richard Davis, superintendent with the O.C. Mitchell construction company handling the job. "Carrying it off is the problem."
The rubble was destined for a private landfill, but Davis did not know where.
The house was the site for a March 2006 Duke University lacrosse-team party at which stripper Crystal Mangum alleged she was raped by three team members. The players were subsequently exonerated by N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper.
"The house had been uninhabited for more than four years, and had gone into significant disrepair," said Duke Vice President Michael Schoenfeld. "It seemed a good time to return the property to more productive use."
What use that might be, Schoenfeld said, has not been decided but the decision will be made "sooner rather than later."
Ironically, about a month before the lacrosse party, the university had bought the house along with several other rental properties in the Trinity Park neighborhood, in response to neighbors' complaints about wild student parties. Most of the other houses have been sold to owner occupants.
The now-vacant lot could be sold for residential use, but its size and shape make it "less desirable" than other lots nearby, Shoenfeld said.
Demolition attracted a small crowd of spectators who watched from along the East Campus wall across the street, but they had dispersed before the job was finished.
Mangum, the accuser in the lacrosse case, is currently facing charges of of attempted murder, arson, assault and battery, identity theft, injury to personal property, resisting a public officer and misdemeanor child abuse.