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USC working with city of Wells for permission to demolish site

By Staff | Mar 29, 2015

USC superintendent Jerry Jensen addresses the Wells City Council.

Demolition was the word on everybody’s tongue at the Wells City Council meeting last Monday evening.

Not only was the demolition of the old United South Central school discussed, but the Frank Brothers elevator was mentioned as well.

USC Superintendent Jerry Jensen was in attendance at the meeting to discuss with council members further details on the demolition of the old USC school and to address any concerns the public had.

Jensen stated that the demolition, from start to finish, would take approximately six weeks, with hopes of beginning during the last half of July or early August.

With this estimated schedule, a mere five days for “crushing” is anticipated to take place; that is, if the demolition team is given permission to “crush” on site via a specific permit, and whether a window of time from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day is acceptable to the council.

Crushing is a term used to take large concrete and asphalt pieces and create smaller amounts of rubble to be carried off site. The temporary permit in question would allow this to happen on the site of the school rather than at a different location.Though the council did not make a decision on this temporary on-site crushing permit, it was discussed.

City administrator Robin Leslie asked Jensen if there was any information as to what type of crusher would be used, to which Jensen replied: “The machinery that our contractors have mentioned is fairly quiet, so any interruptions would probably be minimal.”

Mayor Ron Gaines posed a question of concern to Jensen regarding the noise that would ensue if the crushing team was given freedom from the 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. window: “If there were church services, or even a funeral going on during that window, could it be postponed?”

Jensen told council members that things could be “worked out” between the church, funeral home and the demolition team.

“It really all depends on how fast we want it done,” said Jensen.

Council members Steve Burns also posed a concern to Jensen: “If they tear down the second street two story wall, will that compromise the integrity of second street?”

Jensen addressed Burns’ concern by stating that there was an estimated $10,000 for curb and sidewalk restoration built into the demolition bid presented to council.

Council member John Herman asked where the completed, crushed components would be hauled off to. Jensen shared that this responsibility would be on the shoulders of their hired contractors.

Jensen mentioned though it has not formally been awarded to this group, they would probably go with Kevitt Excavating for all of their demolition and crushing requirements.

“We now have bids on contractors,” said Jensen, ” and Kevitt (Excavating) can meet our budget and our timeline.”

A special meeting to be held on March 31 at 5:30 p.m. at the USC High School will further address the demolition of the school in greater detail.

The other demolition discussion was that of the Frank Brothers elevator in Wells, which was brought up by Leslie.

“We have an update: we received the environmental assessment report back from Jerry Erickson (with APEX Environcare), and there is asbestos in the building to remove, but not much. This will not drive up the cost for removal as we previously thought. There are also a few electrical transformers that will need to be removed before demolition begins as well.”

The council had an overall good feeling about this and approved permission to take it to the county commissioner’s meeting.

Steve Burns, of the council, asked if tree removal would be included in this demolition project. He also wondered if some of the trees on the plot in question may interfere with the building and its demolition.

Leslie replied to Burns’ inquiry by mentioning she would look further into detail about the removal of trees.

After making sure there were no other questions, Leslie put in a formal request for the low bid of $33,000 to move forward with the demolition project with South Central Minnesota Excavation. It was approved unanimously.

Besides the talk of tearing down, Wells City Council had a few more subject matters to discuss before finishing their Monday evening meeting:

The motion to determine the necessity of the bond of $650,000 for aerial fire equipment was carried.

City Council is still in need of two more people on the planning and zoning committee.

The Wells Municipal Swimming Pool has appointed Loraine Christianson for pool manager and Nancy Christianson for assistant pool manager, along with increasing their party fee from $75 to $100.