16-story prison imploded in Morganton

16-story prison imploded in Morganton
The old High-Rise Prison in Morganton was imploded on Saturday. (Source: Steve Ohnesorge/WBTV)

MORGANTON, N.C. (WBTV) - The 16-story former prison building that housed juvenile offenders for decades is now just a pile of rubble.

The Western Youth Institution, more commonly known as the High-Rise Prison was imploded Saturday morning. Government workers can be heard saying “Oh no” during the implosion as the building actually tilted forward.

Nobody was hurt.

Morganton prison imposion

The prison was shut down years ago. A state bond was passed then and part of that money was earmarked for a regional National Guard Readiness Center.

Officials thought the prison building could be renovated and used for that but experts determined it was not cost effective.

The National Guard will still use the property, but the building had to go.

The immediate area was cordoned off to the public. The building was constructed almost 50 years ago with the first inmates brought to the prison in May 1972.

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