Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

Demolition to begin soon at Upper Campus

Posted on 25 October 2017 by calvin

Demolition of the historic portion of the Upper School at Minnehaha Academy will begin soon. Following the explosion, a disaster recovery team was at the 3100 W. River Pkwy. site, and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) also conducted an investigation. During that time the NTSB prevented access to the site, even by the school’s agents. After access was restored, a preliminary engineering study was performed.

The report shows that the entire core of the campus—the 1912 and 1922 buildings, the link between them, and the STEM lab—was so intensely shaken by the blast that it must be razed, according to the school’s website. The demolition will take at least a few months to complete.

The gymnasium and fine arts wings survived with minimal damage and are free of environmental contamination. However, there is no utility service to them. The school began investigating the options of placing them back in service or “mothballing” them to avoid further damage. The amount of destruction that needs to be addressed is much larger than a layperson’s look at the structure would indicate.

According to a letter from President Dr. Harris and Board Chair David Anderson on Oct. 12, while school’s insurance company had determined that the 1912 and 1922 buildings and the STEM lab needed to be taken down in September, it took longer for the company to decide that the foundations of the historic buildings were also damaged beyond repair.

“That determination was made earlier this week, which is good news,” stated the letter.

“We now anticipate the demolition permit to be issued in about two weeks. The process includes a 10-day waiting period and a neighborhood meeting before the demolition can begin.”

Part of the procedure involves the proper separation of the healthy gym and fine arts wings. This needs to be done in a way that preserves their structural integrity and prevents environmental contamination. The demolition, including the mothballing of the healthy wings, should be completed by Thanksgiving.

Under continuing study are ideas to recover use of the soccer field next spring by re-sodding, and putting the gym and fine arts wings back in service.

“We thank you for your continued confidence in Min­ne­haha Academy, but also need your prayerful support as we move forward. We will keep you updated as things progress,” wrote Harris and Anderson.

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