Crews tour old Roann school

Crews from various construction companies (top photo) inspect the boiler room at the old Roann School. Before demolition begins,officials hope to save the center court photo design from he old gymnasium (bottom photo). Phhotos by Joseph Slacian. 

By Joseph Slacian

ROANN – Contractors from around Indiana were in Roann on Tuesday morning for a pre-bid meeting on the old Roann School Building.

Jacob Teuschler, project manager with BCA Environmental Consultants led a group meeting at Roann Town Hall with the contractors, discussing various aspects of the bid specifications. He also discussed various requirements from the Indiana Office of the Community and Rural Affairs, which is contributing funds for the work to raze the building.

Following the meeting, contractors toured the building, which was built in 1941, to get measurements and other information needed to determine their bids to demolish the three-story, 32,000-square-foot structure.

The tour began in the boiler room, and then the contractors were allowed to wander through the building.

Most walked into the various classrooms on the second floor, and a few braved venturing onto the third floor. Town officials cautioned those going onto the top floor to be careful, because the wooden floor was sagging at various spots. They urged those going onto the third floor not to go too far away from a classroom, where the floor was more stable.

Peeling paint was found on walls and stairways, while some of the walls were covered with various graffiti.

Numerous items, ranging from a few filing cabinets, empty paint cans, broken furniture and even an old, upright piano, could be found throughout the building.

Most of the windows in the building were broken, as were some of the glass panes in classroom doors.

The old gymnasium appeared to be in the worse shape, with much of the floor strewn with debris. Two basketball goals and a scoreboard remained in the gym, and an old, deflated basketball was found underneath one of the goals.

Access to the stage in the gym was restricted by a construction fence. It still had the curtains from the school’s glory days, deep maroon with the initials RHS displayed high above center stage.

The demolition project is being conducted in three stages, according to specifications.

The first is an asbestos inspection of the site found some asbestos which must be removed before actual demolition work could begin.

The second phase is the demolition and off-site disposal of the debris. During the demolition, certain aspects of the building are to be saved, as per a request from town officials.

One item is the center court circle of the basketball court, which depicts the head of a Native American chief and the words Roann Indians.

Another is a pallet of unbroken bricks which town officials hope to use as part of a marker honoring the site. The ornate entrances on the west side of the building also are to be saved.

The final stage of the project is, after receiving approval that demolition is complete and performed according to specifications, the contractor must place approved backfill material at the site, then seed and cover the land.

Clerk-Treasurer Bob Ferguson said officials hope to create a green space where the building now stands.

Bids for the demolition were to be accepted when the Roann Town Council met on Tuesday, April 10. The Council will presumably take the bids under advisement, allowing for a chance to review the bids.

The board will then meet again on Tuesday, April 17, to award the bids.

Work on the site could begin in early May, and officials hope for a “substantial completion of demolition” by June 22.

Posted on 2018 Apr 10