Demolition on the old Boone Trail School has gotten underway and thanks to Mother Nature, the process just got a little easier.
Harnett County Manager Paula Stewart told the board of commissioners during its monthly work session that the project is moving at a solid pace and should be done within the next four to six weeks.
“They are keeping it all separated, the bricks and the contaminated material,” she said. “The company, A-1 Salvage should be done with everything in four to six weeks, on everything. It’s going well, the fact that it rained really helped them, that’s what they kept telling us.”
Stewart told the panel, crews had been aided by the rain in keeping airborne particles under control and confined to the old building, limiting the spread of the cancer-causing toxins. The building dates back to 1928.
“They have started the demo,” she said.
The contractor on the project has leveled a large portion of the school which caught fire in May and became unsafe for any renovation projects, she said. The materials being removed by the contractor are being separated on-site as well.
“They’re starting at the rear and removing all the guts of the building,” she said. “And then they’re moving forward leaving the sidewalls and the support on the front.”
The fate of the school’s archway which bares its name and the entry cubical to the school, which alumni hope can be saved and used as both a shrine to the old school and an entryway into a proposed public park, are still in doubt. The county hoped to restore some of the property for public uses.
Both Stewart and Assistant County Manager Brian Haney cautioned that the contractor is not yet sure those two key pieces can be saved.
Stewart said the county is still waiting on the community group, which pledged to provide engineering information to aid in shoring up the walls of the entryway in a prior meeting, to contact the county.
Haney added the contractor still does not have a solution to keeping the walls of the entryway supported and standing in a manner they can be utilized safely. He said if they do come up with a solution, it will likely add up to an additional $60,000 to the total cost of the demolition, beyond what the commissioners have already budgeted for the project.
“They still don’t have a solution to separating it beyond what A-1 is already providing,” he said. “If it is successful, it is a $50 to $60,000 cost to shore up permanently.”
The original bid allowed for the separation of materials, but had no provision for shoring up the remaining structure, something the contractor was not able to guarantee.
“If it’s left standing they can shore it up to use for the park,” Haney said. “But that’s the part that would cost $50 to $60,000.”