Demolition work begins on Roann School

A worker cuts away part of the block at the entrance to the old Roann School building on Wednesday morning, June 6. Part of the entrance, along with bricks from the building, will be used to create a memorial to the site, which is in the process of being demolished. Demolition work is expected to be finished in five weeks. Photo by Joseph Slacian

By Joseph Slacian

     ROANN – Crews from Dore & Associates Contracting, Bay City, Mich., began demolition work on the old Roann School building on Wednesday morning, June 6.

Work actually began on Tuesday, when crews began removing blocks from the two entrances on the building’s east side which are to be preserved for a future memorial to the school. However, actual demolition work was to begin sometime Wednesday morning.

Work is expected to take five weeks, according to Dan Dore, who is overseeing the project.

Roann Clerk-Treasurer Bob Ferguson and Wabash County Commissioner Barry Eppley were both on hand Wednesday morning to watch work begin. The building is owned by the town and the county.

“It’s bittersweet,” Eppley said. “It’s sad to see a building that’s played such a role in the community’s life for generations (be demolished). But it’s become a safety hazard and it’s quite an accomplishment to actually see it come down and have the space become something else for the community.

Ferguson said he and Eppley have been working on the project for about seven years.

“We’ve not only talked with each other, but we’ve also had meetings with Bill Konyha when he was at OCRA. At that time, it just seemed like it was years and years and years away because there wasn’t anything cohesive about having the building.
“We didn’t really see a whole lot until Wabash County and Roann partnered together to get the job done. I see it as a collaboration between the county and the town. It wouldn’t have happened without that collaboration.

“So, you see three facets. You see the state, because OCRA’s involved; you see the county, because Wabash County’s involved; and you see a town, because Roann’s involved. That’s just Hoosier pride to me. That’s the way Hoosiers are; we always work together. We all banded together to get this job done and help out the community.”

The site will eventually become a green space.

Posted on 2018 Jun 12